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Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...

Why minke whale meat is far from traditional in Iceland

I was really sorry to see minke whale meat included in a recent list in the Icelandic press of ‘top delicacies that are favourites amongst locals’.  The author starts by exorting readers to “forget about the fermented shark used to shock tourists” but after listing lamb, local bread and freshly-caught fish, ends with a dish that is clearly controversial and to my mind, should shock tourists every bit as much as fermented shark: minke whale meat.

What the piece neglects to mention is that minke whales are harpooned primarily to cater for demand from tourists, who order it under the misapprehension that it is a popular local dish. In fact, eating whale meat is neither popular nor traditional in Iceland, and the vast majority of Icelanders don’t touch it.

Many visitors to Iceland take a whale watch trip and minke whales are a popular draw, with profits contributing greatly to the Icelandic economy (tourism is currently the country’s number one revenue).

By contrast, whaling is a cruel, unprofitable and wasteful industry (much of the whale’s carcass is discarded). It is bitterly ironic then, that whaling vessels frequently operate close to whale watch areas, meaning that a whale enjoyed by watchers one morning, may be targeted that afternoon by whalers hellbent on putting whale steaks onto tourist plates that evening.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland in coming months, please don’t eat whale meat or be tempted to sample other gimmicky products such as pickled blubber or so-called ‘whale beer’ (made with whale products including smoked fin whale testicles). Please see our new flyer for more information.

Please support our campaign to end whaling in Iceland!

 

 

About Vanessa Williams-Grey

Policy manager - Stop Whaling and Responsible Whale Watching