Warning: Graphic images below.
Multi-millionaire Kristján Loftsson is the Icelandic whaler whose company is responsible for killing a blue and fin whale hybrid.
Shocking photos from anti-whaling groups showed the large animal being butchered in Iceland earlier this month.
This is reportedly the 22nd whale killed by Loftsson's whaling company, Hvalur hf, since 20 June 2018, according to marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd UK.
Initially, it was thought the whale was an endangered Blue Whale, which is illegal to kill.
However, DNA analysis has confirmed the whaling company's claims that the whale is an offspring of rare blue and fin whale.
Though these are legal to kill under Icelandic law, the meat cannot be legally traded.
Loftsson told indy100 that Hvalur hf usually kills Fin whales. He said:
When hunting, you only see the back of the whale, so it looked like a fin whale.
We see blue whales all the time and we leave it.
Conservationists are calling for an immediate end to commercial whaling in Iceland.
Sigursteinn Masson, the Icelandic representative for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said:
The killing of a blue/fin whale hybrid demonstrates the difficulty for whalers at sea to identify which species they are actually pursuing.
The result is that a rare and protected species ultimately suffers the collateral damage resulting from an unnecessary and culturally unpopular hunt.
Now that the evidence has been confirmed, we yet again call for an immediate and permanent end to this practice to prevent further harm to these endangered species which not only play a crucial role within the marine ecosystem, but also embody such a rich national and cultural heritage as well.
Loftsson is not put off by condemnation for conservation groups.
He told indy100 that Hvalur hf has quota of 161 whales for this seasons, starting in early June.
However, he said that the final tally depends on the weather and could be less.
Following debate over whether the whale was a fin whale, a blue whale or a hybrid, Loftsson told the BBC he has been continually targeted by campaigners and that the recent killing is nothing new.
This is nothing new to us, we have had at least five in previous years with similar characteristics and DNA analysis shows a completely different profile from a fin whale and that has been described as a hybrid of a blue and a fin.
HT The Mirror