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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...

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!