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Is a good outcome possible for the jailed whales in Russia?

Is a good outcome possible for the jailed whales in Russia?

It’s not often that we report good news from Russia about whales and dolphins. We...
My amazing time as a WDC volunteer researcher on the Welsh island of Bardsey

My amazing time as a WDC volunteer researcher on the Welsh island of Bardsey

WDC has a long-running research project studying the dolphins and porpoises who make their homes...
Marine tourism and keeping dolphins safe

Marine tourism and keeping dolphins safe

We use the waters around the UK commercially and for fun. But all this human...
Will Japan’s new emperor bring new hope for whales?

Will Japan’s new emperor bring new hope for whales?

This week, Japan's Emperor Akihito offered his formal abdication to the Japanese people and delivered...
Paradise lost? Extraordinary encounters with sperm whales

Paradise lost? Extraordinary encounters with sperm whales

A magical sperm whale encounter One morning back in 2015,  in an ocean devoid of...
Whale watching not whale hunting

Whale watching not whale hunting

At WDC, we believe in offering positive alternatives. We don’t just say that captivity is...
Dolphins endure extreme suffering when captured from the wild

Dolphins endure extreme suffering when captured from the wild

It’s not just the dolphins who are killed or captured in Japan’s cruel hunts that...
A WDC supporter’s impression of Vancouver Aquarium

A WDC supporter’s impression of Vancouver Aquarium

David Yeadon is a WDC supporter who visited Vancouver Aquarium two years ago, when he...

"Whale meat is good for children" claims Norwegian government

I’m alarmed – but sadly not surprised – to learn that Norwegian Fisheries Minister, Per Sandberg, is funding efforts to promote whale meat to children.

Mr Sandberg has pledged almost a million kroner (over £90,000) to the Geitmyra Matkultursenter (Food Culture Centre) to provide children in Eastern Norway with ‘good experiences with seafood’ under the government’s “Seafood Measures” initiative. Additionally, he’s awarded a grant of 200,000 kroner (over £18,000) to Norsk Hval (Norwegian Whale) specifically to collaborate with both Geitmyra and the Matstreif food festival in Oslo to put out the message that whale meat is a new, but exciting, food for children and young people to experience. Sandberg exclaimed that “whales are a healthy alternative to red meat and whale meat is good for the health.”

Surprising? Not really, since earlier this year, I reported on efforts to offload around 60 tons of Norwegian minke whale meat to needy people. However, this apparent act of philanthropy was swiftly revealed as mere expediency and a PR stunt, as the meat – donated by Myklebust Hvalprodukter (Myklebust Whale Products), based in western Norway and one of the country’s largest whale meat processors and exporters – was nearing its sell-by date.

The truth is that. despite government subsidies and marketing campaigns over the past 25 years, domestic demand for whale meat is declining within Norway and efforts over recent years to promote it to students and young people via music festivals and other outlets, have largely flopped.

In 2005, the Karsten Ellingsen company launched the ‘Lofotburger’ (50% whale meat, 50% pork) commenting at the time that “ we hope that this product hits the nail on the head and that a new generation gets their eyes opened up to whale meat.” However, by 2008, the company was forced to admit that sales weren’t good and the product had failed to excite the youth market.

Despite this, Norwegian whalers continue to hunt hundreds of minke whales each year under an ‘objection’ to the global ban on commercial whaling and so far this season, over 100 minke whales have been killed.

And alarming? Yes, due to concerns that Norwegian whale meat could be unfit for human consumption due to high levels of pesticides. For example, in March 2015, Japan dumped a shipment of minke whale meat from Norway after routine safety tests discovered that it contained up to twice the permitted level of aldrin, dieldrin and chlordane, potentially dangerous pesticide, suspected of causing birth defects, neurological harm and some cancers, if consumed in high quantities.

Hardly the most appetising prospect for Norwegian schoolchildren – but definitely food for thought.

If you are considering visiting Norway this year, please take a look at our flyer which asks visitors to avoid eating whale meat and also check out the trips run by WDC partner, Off the Map Travel www.offthemaptravel.co.uk

Vanessa Williams-Grey

About Vanessa Williams-Grey

Policy manager - Stop Whaling and Responsible Whale Watching