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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...
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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...

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...

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...

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

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

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...

"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