whaling061022

The fin whale taken in the North Atlantic is butchered. ((CBC))

Iceland killed a fin whale on Sunday, breachinga global moratorium on commercial whaling.

The 20-metre whale, which is regarded as an endangered species by the World Conservation Union,was harpooned in the North Atlantic.

Thekill, the firstsince the 1980s, followed Iceland's announcementlast week that it would resume commercial whaling. The government said it would permitnine fin whales and 30 minke whales to be killed by next August.

Conservation groups condemned the kill, but it was supported by Norway and Japan, both of which back commercial whaling.

Pro-whaling countries, including Iceland,want theInternational Whaling Commission tolifta 1986 ban on commercial hunts.In June, Iceland, Norway and Japan passed a symbolic resolution to end the ban.

Iceland's Fisheries Ministry has estimated thereare more than 43,000 minke whales and 25,000 fin whales in Iceland's coastal waters. A limited commercial hunt, ithas said,would be"consistent with the principle of sustainable development."

The IWC websitesaid therewere an estimated 174,000 minke whales and 30,000 fin whales in the North Atlantic in 2001.

Iceland stopped commercial whaling in 1986 and scientific whaling in 1989. It resumed scientific whaling in 2003.

With files from The Associated Press