It’s been a bad news week for whales. First, Iceland announced that it would begin hunting minke, fin, and sei whales again after a 13-year hiatus. The nation says the whaling will be strictly for research purposes, but environmentalists say the plan is a smokescreen for commercial hunts. The World Conservation Union’s Red List ranks fin and sei whales as endangered, while North Atlantic minkes are near-threatened. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, a Japanese whaling fleet has killed 400 minke whales during a five-month expedition in the Antarctic. The Japanese government acknowledged the hunt but said it was conducted to help gauge the impact of whale populations on fisheries stocks and assess migration patterns and population trends. The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, but it allows unlimited catches for research purposes.