All hunted whales in Iceland are DNA tested when the season is over.
Blue whales were nearly hunted to extinction last century and there are only 10,000 to 25,000 left alive.
'From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the coloration pattern - there is nearly no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea'.
Whale scientists, including senior marine scientist of Humane Society International (HSI), Mark Simmonds, believe the whale was a juvenile blue whale or possibly a rare fin whale-blue whale hybrid.
The first blue whale to be killed by whalers in over 50 years has been killed in Iceland, according to reports.
"Whale 22 (documented by us on July 7th midnight / July 8th early morning) shows features of a blue whale (darker belly, all black baleen, bluish colour)", they wrote in a Facebook post. Although an worldwide moratorium has placed catch limits at zero for blue whales, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation all objected to that provision.
Anti-whaling group Hard to Port published photos of what many experts have identified as a blue whale being dragged into Hvalur hf processing facility on its Facebook page on Tuesday.
Speaking to CNN, professor of biology Adam A.Peck at the University of Hawaii says that the whale hunted by Hvalur hf on Saturday night is a blue whale and not a hybrid blue/ fin whale as believed by Icelandic experts.
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The whaling station crew posed for photos next to and even on top of the whale 'in a sign they knew very well this was a rare Blue whale, ' monitors Sea Shepherd claimed.
Sea Sheperd said it was the 22nd whale killed by Loftsson's outfit in the past three weeks, the others being endangered fin whales.
"Iceland's whaling is rogue and archaic and should command diplomatic criticism at the highest levels".
"This is a deplorable act - the blue whale, the largest animal ever to grace our planet - is endangered and protected under all relevant worldwide agreements", he said.
The government of Iceland confirmed that "blue whales are protected under Icelandic law with their capture prohibited". Prior to the catastrophic commercial whaling of the 20 century it is estimated that there were in the region of a quarter of a million blue whales, but their populations crashed in the 1950s and 60s.
"This man must be stopped from ruthlessly violating global conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland".
"Loftsson ordered his crew to butcher the whale just like it was another Fin whale, ' the anti-whaling group claimed". "We see them in the ocean".
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