"This awful incident comes as Japan is rumoured to be planning an attempt to overturn the global moratorium on commercial whaling, and clearly speaks to how utterly inappropriate it is for countries to even contemplate allowing a large-scale return to this grossly inhumane and haphazard industry".
Hvalur has a license to catch fin whales, which are more common and claimed the captured beast is a hybrid of the two species.
Some conservationists and experts, however, point out that the features of whale 22 are more similar to that of a blue whale than of a hybrid whale. "We see them in the ocean. They have blue all over their body, you see it, it's easy", he said.
"No other nation - not even Japan or Norway - slaughters fin whales, and there has not been a blue whale harpooned by anyone for the last 50 years until this one was harpooned by the [vessel] Hvalur 8", Sea Shepherd stated.
He said there will be DNA testing to confirm the identity of the whale, but that he is not concerned by what the results might show.
Later photos and video showed the whale being butchered, and activists said the meat would be sold to Japan where whales are still eaten in restaurants.
Images of the dead whale provided by anti-whaling group Hard To Port triggered fury among experts and activists.
"It seems to me like they've really stuffed up, done something really stupid and all of a sudden the focus of the world is on them".
"The killing of such a majestic creature, blue whale or hybrid, represents a significant crime against nature, given the rarity of these species and the threats to their survival today".
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The government of Iceland confirmed that "blue whales are protected under Icelandic law with their capture prohibited". Some have accused the company of using that loophole to deflect negative scrutiny of the killing.
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"It was taken as a fin whale, but it [will] turn out to be a hybrid".
"(Look at) the way the dorsal fin is hooked, the pointed pectoral fins, and the size of the animal", he said. "We have never caught a blue whale in our waters since they were protected", he told CNN.
Nicole Beynon of Humane Society International Australia said: "Killing a blue whale is unforgivable".
"It is regrettable that reckless and irresponsible actions of a single company cast a shadow on the reputation of the whole country", commented Arne Feuerhahn, representative Hard To Port. "I mean, nobody should see what I've seen", he said.
The whale meat being cut up on the side of the dock.
"[This is] being taken seriously by the Government and the relevant authorities are investigating", the statement said.
It's a unusual situation for whalers in Iceland. Volunteers monitoring the whaling site photographed orange-clad crews examining the massive carcass. According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Icelandic authorities have confirmed that five hybrids have been identified by researchers since 1986 around Iceland, but four of them were killed by whalers.
Mr Loftsson took over as CEO of Hvalur hf from his father.