Some Icelandic whale hunters have embarked upon inviting tourists onto their boats to witness what whale hunting is like.
Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, the director of whale hunting company Hrefnuveiðimenn ehf., explained the concept to Vísir. “Maybe ‘whale watching’ isn’t the right term,” he said. “We’re offering whale watching with whale hunters. We’re going to show how whale hunting is done without actually hunting any whales. We want to show the entire process, let people get to know us whale hunters, fire the harpoon gun and eat some whale meat.”
Whale hunting is controversial, even in Iceland, where the Tourist Office has stated that whale hunting hurts one of Iceland’s largest industries, whale watching. “That is precisely the discussion,” Gunnar says. “That whale hunting and whale watching can’t go together. I think we should see instead how people react to this. It could very well backfire on us but I’m not particularly worried about that. I think the two can very well go together.”
As mentioned, however, no whales will actually be hunted on board the tours. Gunnar has said, though, that below deck, tourists will be shown the internal organs of a whale, as well as receive a history of whale hunting in Iceland.