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Gray whale (eschrichtius robustus) The eye of  a gray whale. Pacific coast Mexico.

Save the whale, save the world – because our lives depend on it

Carl Sagan famously called our planet a 'pale blue dot' when he saw the first...
Katie looking for dolphins

My magical island adventure – proof you don’t have to leave the UK to have amazing dolphin encounters

You don't have to travel outside of the UK to enjoy awesome wildlife encounters. Around...
Risso's dolphin: WDC/Nicola Hodgins

Remarkable Risso’s dolphins – how we’re studying them to protect them

And just like that, another season of field research studying remarkable Risso's dolphins came to...
Dead dolphins on the beach

Faroe Islands whale and dolphin slaughter – what have we done and what are we doing?

The massacre of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður on the Faroe Islands on 12th...
© WDC

The horror – reflecting on the massacre of 1,428 dolphins on the Faroe Islands

Like you and millions of people around the globe, I felt horrified by the news...
Bottlenose dolphins in never-ending lockdown at Loro Parque, Tenerife

The whales and dolphins trapped in never-ending lockdown – hearing their stories

Every whale and dolphin in captivity is an individual with a life history and around...
Orcalab

Surviving not living. Why we have to end lockdown for captive whales and dolphins

I first visited OrcaLab in British Columbia over 30 years ago and vividly remember my...
Shorewatchers

Our volunteer citizen scientists are making waves in Scotland

I'm lucky enough to do a job that I love. For the last seven years...

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