(Photo: Getty Images)The hunting season in Iceland has officially begun with a fin whale to be the first catch. Once again Icelandic whalers have resumed the activity despite of the condemnation of whaling practices that was introduced in moratorium from 1982.

Fin whale, also called finback whale or common rorqual, is a North Atlantic marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. Fin whale is the second longest animal in the world and second largest after a blue whale, growing up to 28 meters long and weighing nearly 74 tonnes.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) issued a moratorium on commercial hunting of this whale, although Iceland and Japan have resumed hunting: in 2009 and 2010, Iceland took 125 and 148 fin whales, while Japan took eighteen in seven seasons (2005–12) of Antarctic whaling.

Iceland exported 500–600 tons of fin whale meat to Japan in 2011, worth 486,189,000 ISK ($3.8 million). The species is also hunted by Greenlanders under the IWC's Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling provisions.

Global population estimates range from less than 100,000 to roughly 119,000.

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