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Dolphins captured for captivity in Taiji. Image: Hans Peter Roth

Loved and killed – whales and dolphins in Japan

Protests and criticism from outside Japan in response to the slaughter of whales and dolphins...
Irrawaddy dolphin

Helping fishers protect dolphins in Sarawak, Borneo

Fishing nets are bad news for dolphins and porpoises, so we're working with local fishers...
Dolphin watching from Chanonry Point, Scotland. Image: WDC/Charlie Phillips

Discovering inner peace – whale and dolphin watching and mental wellbeing

Guest blog If you've ever seen whales or dolphins in the wild, you'll know that...
Whale tail

An ocean of hope

In a monumental, jaw-dropping demonstration of global community, the nations of the world made history...
The infamous killing cove at Taiji, Japan

Why the Taiji dolphin hunt can never be justified

Supporters of the dolphin slaughter in Japan argue that killing a few hundred dolphins every...
Image: Peter Linforth

Tracking whales from space will help us save them

Satellite technology holds one of the keys to 21st century whale conservation, so we're exploring...
Fishers' involvement is crucial. Image: WDC/JTF

When porpoises and people overlap

We're funding a project in Hong Kong that's working with fishing communities to help save...

Mindful conservation – why we need a new respect for nature

'We should look at whales and dolphins as the indigenous people of the seas -...
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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...

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

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

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

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

Norway's whaling season begins

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

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

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

"Whale meat is good for children" claims Norwegian government

I’m alarmed – but sadly not surprised – to learn that Norwegian Fisheries Minister, Per Sandberg, is funding efforts to promote whale meat to children.

Mr Sandberg has pledged almost a million kroner (over £90,000) to the Geitmyra Matkultursenter (Food Culture Centre) to provide children in Eastern Norway with ‘good experiences with seafood’ under the government’s “Seafood Measures” initiative. Additionally, he’s awarded a grant of 200,000 kroner (over £18,000) to Norsk Hval (Norwegian Whale) specifically to collaborate with both Geitmyra and the Matstreif food festival in Oslo to put out the message that whale meat is a new, but exciting, food for children and young people to experience. Sandberg exclaimed that “whales are a healthy alternative to red meat and whale meat is good for the health.”

Surprising? Not really, since earlier this year, I reported on efforts to offload around 60 tons of Norwegian minke whale meat to needy people. However, this apparent act of philanthropy was swiftly revealed as mere expediency and a PR stunt, as the meat – donated by Myklebust Hvalprodukter (Myklebust Whale Products), based in western Norway and one of the country’s largest whale meat processors and exporters – was nearing its sell-by date.

The truth is that. despite government subsidies and marketing campaigns over the past 25 years, domestic demand for whale meat is declining within Norway and efforts over recent years to promote it to students and young people via music festivals and other outlets, have largely flopped.

In 2005, the Karsten Ellingsen company launched the ‘Lofotburger’ (50% whale meat, 50% pork) commenting at the time that “ we hope that this product hits the nail on the head and that a new generation gets their eyes opened up to whale meat.” However, by 2008, the company was forced to admit that sales weren’t good and the product had failed to excite the youth market.

Despite this, Norwegian whalers continue to hunt hundreds of minke whales each year under an ‘objection’ to the global ban on commercial whaling and so far this season, over 100 minke whales have been killed.

And alarming? Yes, due to concerns that Norwegian whale meat could be unfit for human consumption due to high levels of pesticides. For example, in March 2015, Japan dumped a shipment of minke whale meat from Norway after routine safety tests discovered that it contained up to twice the permitted level of aldrin, dieldrin and chlordane, potentially dangerous pesticide, suspected of causing birth defects, neurological harm and some cancers, if consumed in high quantities.

Hardly the most appetising prospect for Norwegian schoolchildren – but definitely food for thought.

If you are considering visiting Norway this year, please take a look at our flyer which asks visitors to avoid eating whale meat and also check out the trips run by WDC partner, Off the Map Travel www.offthemaptravel.co.uk