Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
El Salvador whale watching workshop

Empowering communities through responsible whale watching

Miguel Iñíguez Miguel is WDC's research fellow based in Argentina. Seeing whales and dolphins in...
Busy Japanese city

WDC in Japan – Part 6: Lessons learnt

Katrin Matthes Katrin is WDC's communications and campaigns officer for policy & communication in Germany...
Help Michelin change the course

We’re working with Michelin to take whales off the menu

Julia Pix Julia Pix is WDC's head of engagement. She delivers our public campaigns and...
Baird's beaked whale © Robert Pitman

Beaked whales have culture, too

Erich Hoyt Erich is WDC's research fellow. He works to protect areas of the ocean...
Humpback whale playing with kelp

Why do humpback whales wear seaweed wigs?

Alison Wood Ali is WDC's education projects coordinator. She is the editor of Splash! and KIDZONE,...
Japanese whaling ship

WDC in Japan – Part 5: The meaning of whaling

Katrin Matthes Katrin is WDC's communications and campaigns officer for policy & communication in Germany...
Risso's dolphins off the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Unravelling the mysteries of Risso’s dolphins – WDC in action

Nicola Hodgins Nicola is WDC's cetacean science coordinator. She leads our long-term Risso's dolphin research...
Save the whale save the world on a tv in a meeting room.

Saving whales in boardrooms and on boats

Abbie Cheesman Abbie is WDC's head of strategic partnerships. She works with leading businesses to...

‘Banana Republic’ Iceland?

Forgive me for smelling a rat here, but the latest news out of Iceland regarding the now infamous whale beer strikes me as highly suspicious. Banned only a fortnight ago on food safety grounds, we learn of a sudden U-turn permitting the beer to go on sale – conveniently just in time for the midwinter festival of Thorrablot which started Friday – pending further investigations following a complaint filed by the Steðjar brewery.  It is difficult to see how a product banned by public health experts because Hvalur lacks a licence to sell ground-up whale bones for human consumption, suddenly passes muster.  Can it possibly have anything to do with Hvalur boss, Kristjan Loftsson, giving the pot an extra stir here and leaning on a pro-whaling government to allow his product onto the shelves after all?

In a show of solidarity for Loftsson’s brew, former Minister of Fisheries, Einar K. Guðfinnsson (the man who increased the whaling quota in 2008) posted a photo showing him eating traditional Thorrablot fare and drinking “…the long-awaited whale beer”.

Certainly Loftsson will not at all have liked the massive negative publicity the story has provoked around the globe – with many Icelanders themselves commenting on social media that they do not like the sound of a beer which even the brewer himself describes as tasting ‘fishy’.

Rannveig Grétarsdóttir, general manager of the Elding Whale Watch company in Reykjavik summed it up beautifully when she posted: “If this isn’t preferential treatment and corruption then I don’t know what is. Who else than Kristján Loftsson gets the Minister of Fisheries to allow the sales of a product that the Public Health Authority has banned. This is Banana Republic Iceland in a nutshell. In the report they forgot to mention that the beer is produced in collaboration with Hvalur Inc.”

Happily, a recent poll suggests that a growing  number of Icelanders are in favour of their country joining the EU.  If this trend continues, those who profit from killing whales will definitely be crying into their beer.