While the civilized world maintains strict bans on hunting rare and endangered wildlife, the tiny nation of Iceland stubbornly refuses to halt the centuries-old practice of killing endangered whales for food.
The practice continued on Sunday as two Icelandic whaling ships headed for the open seas to slaughter 150 finback whales.
The ships, Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9, belong to the legally licensed Icelandic whaling company Hvalur and have permits to kill 150 finback whales this year. Last year's quota was 154, but poor weather conditions resulted in 'just' 137 whales being caught. 2015's quota is up from the 134 authorized in 2013.
The hunted whales will be brought to the western Icelandic region of Hvalfjörður where approximately 150 people are employed in hunting, processing and freezing the valuable meat.
In 1982 the International Whaling Commission, the world-wide body that had managed whale stocks, agreed to a moratorium on killing whales due to their extremely low numbers.
Russia, Japan and Iceland refuse to honor the ban and instead push the endangered marine mammals closer to extinction each year through large-scale commercial whale hunts.