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...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings

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...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

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

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...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

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...

Whale beer: really scraping the bottom of the barrel


In what is starting to feel like an alcoholic version of Groundhog day, it is time for the annual farce that is the – mercifully short – ‘whale beer’ season in Iceland.  The beer is brewed to sell during Þorri  (Thorri), the Icelandic midwinter festival which runs from mid-January to mid-February. Whilst there’s undoubtedly some traditional foods associated with Thorri (including such dubious delicacies as rotten shark, soured whale blubber and ram´s testicles), whale beer is decidedly not traditional, existing only since 2015.

Despite the fact that most drinkers gave previous whale beers a definite ‘thumbs down’ on taste grounds, the Steðja (Stedji) brewery doggedly persists in its efforts to convince tourists that they really DO want to drink a beer brewed with sheep dung-smoked fin whale testicles.

Bad taste on more than one level it would seem. And as I commented last year, whilst Iceland’s sole fin whaler, Kristjan Loftsson, will doubtless be congratulating himself on finding yet another gimmick to offload his surplus whale products, there is more to this than mere sensationalism. This is a calculated move, not only to dishonour a beautiful and endangered creature by using its most intimate of body parts as a marketing tool, but also a rather sordid opportunity for Loftsson to send a clear ‘two fingers’ to the conservation community and to those who love and respect whales.

To my mind, this obscene use of the body parts of an endangered species is on a par with ashtrays made of gorilla hands, stools made from elephant feet, or dried tiger penis as an aphrodisiac. My hope is that visitors to Iceland – along with the many Icelanders who see beyond the hype – will treat this product with the disdain that it deserves.

Iceland is right up there amongst my favourite places to visit but please, if you take a trip this year, don’t be tempted to sample whale products in any form. Find out more in our new flyer!

Care for a better bitter? Why not try a Bottlenose Bitter brewed by WDC partner Speyside Craft Brewery in Scotland. For every litre sold, WDC receives a 5p donation. Find out more