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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...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

‘Whale beer’ brewery boss gets the point

I was interviewed yesterday by international radio station, Monocle, [51.00-56.00] on the subject of ‘whale beer’, a topic which has triggered considerable media and public debate over the past 48 hours!  Interviewed alongside me was Dabjartur Arilíusson, owner of the Steðjar micro-brewery, which is collaborating with fin whalers, Hvalur, to produce a limited edition beer available only during the Icelandic mid-winter festival of Þorrablót (Thorrablot).

Dabjartur seemed taken aback by the huge international media and public interest in his product which he regarded simply  as a novelty drink to wash down the hearty foods traditionally consumed at Thorrablot. I commented that, given that there is only the equivalent of a pinch of whale meal per pint, it is more the principle of the matter – and the appalling arrogance of the whalers – to seek to reduce a beautiful, sentient and endangered whale to a mere ingredient on the side of a beer bottle.  

I had been expecting a robust defence of his position, but to his credit, Dabjartur readily agreed, saying that he both understood and accepted the concerns of both WDC and the wider public and realised that using even a small amount of whale by-products in his beer still constituted using whale. He admitted that the beer had been a ‘bold experiment’ but conceded that it was one that was unlikely to be repeated.

Time now surely to ‘call time’ on whale beer.