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
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

Iceland’s minke whaler vows to continue hunting this year

Whilst fin whales off Iceland have a reprieve from the harpoons this summer, minke whales in those waters are less fortunate as minke whaler, Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, defiantly declares ‘business as usual’. His company, Hrafnreydur ehf, killed 29 minke whales last year although he could have taken as many as 229 under Iceland’s self-allocated quota, which contravenes the global moratorium on commercial whaling.

Gunnar is reported in Icelandic media as commenting: “We intend to stick to our guns and keep going in the spring. The hunt maybe hasn’t gone as well [in previous years] as we would have chosen. We have been hunting about 30 whales a year, but we need about 50 to meet the demand.” 

Minke whale

He claims that last year, demand was such that the meat ran out and restaurants were forced to import minke whale meat from Norway. Yet this is a strange claim since very few Icelanders eat whale meat and even among tourists – traditionally the main consumers of the minke whale meat under the misapprehension that it is a ‘traditional dish’ – demand has halved in recent years due to public information campaigns by WDC and other NGOs.

I would also question Gunnar’s confident belief that, despite his company’s apparent difficulty in locating minkes in last year’s hunt, there are plenty of whales out there and they have merely changed their home range.  Such an assertion allows him to claim his hunts are ‘sustainable’: yet even scientists at HAFRO, Iceland’s pro-whaling Marine Research Institute, admit that they don’t know enough about the abundance, home range and behaviour of minke whale stocks in those waters. Surely, then, the precautionary principle should come into play and Gunnar Bergmann, too, should call time on his hunt?