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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...
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Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...
Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

I have to admit to bitter disappointment when I arrived in Tromsø, northern Norway, a...

Whale meat given away in Norway – philanthropy or expediency?

The Norwegian press is widely reporting a story of apparent philanthropy on the part of the whaling industry. Retired chef, Bjorn Martin Eklo, has announced that 5,000 boxes (around 60 tons) of minke whale meat will be freely distributed to needy people in Norway. The whale meat has been donated by Myklebust Hvalprodukter (Myklebust Whale Products), based in western Norway and one of the country’s largest whale meat processors and exporters.

In fact, this seemingly generous act is actually expediency dressed up as benevolence. Despite government subsidies and marketing campaigns, domestic demand for whale meat is declining within Norway and efforts to promote it to students and young people via music festivals and other outlets have largely flopped and many consider whale meat old-fashioned and merely a ‘niche product’. Despite this, Norwegian whalers continue to hunt hundreds of minke whales each year under an ‘objection’ to the global ban on commercial whaling.

In recent years, improved packaging and special discounts have somewhat improved sales of whale meat via supermarket chains, but tourists remain the main target and the meat is widely available at dockside fish markets, restaurants and on board cruise ships. Skincare products and supplements such as whale oil capsules and skin creams are also available and of course, WDC strongly recommends that visitors to this beautiful country are not tempted to sample any whale products – see our tourist information flyer for further information

Myklebust Hvalprodukter has also dominated the export market, mainly to Japan, with smaller exports to Iceland and the Faroe Islands.  In recent years, exports have even passed through EU ports, including Southampton, Rotterdam and Hamburg. However, in 2015, Norwegian whale meat  was dumped by Japan after routine safety tests discovered that it contained up to twice the permitted level of three potentially dangerous pesticides: aldrin, dieldrin and chlordane.

Given the clear lack of demand for Norwegian whale meat, either domestically or on the export market, it is hardly surprising that Myklebust is keen to offload meat which has been languishing, unwanted, on supermarket shelves for months.

“This is meat with a best-before date, which is not so very far away. The new [minke whaling] season starts in May, and therefore we think it makes sense to give away this meat directly to consumers, says Ole Mindoro Myklebust, the company’s managing director. 

Fine words, but it seems that the whalers would do well to heed the clear message from consumers: Norwegian whaling has long since passed its sell-by date.