The minke whale cull has fallen far below expectations, prompting a shortage of whale meat in shops and restaurants in Iceland.
Vísir reports that whalers have only hunted 18 minke whales so far this year. While only 3% of Icelanders eat whale regularly, minke whale meat remains popular enough amongst tourists to precipitate a shortage in Iceland’s shops and restaurants.
“It’d be good to get another ten [whales],” Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, the managing director of whaling company Hrefnuveiðimenn, told reporters. “I have 300 kilos of meat left from the last beast, and that will run out by Monday.”
Part of the reason for the shortage is that a significant portion of minke whaling is conducted in Faxaflói Bay, around Reykjavík, where mackerel fishers are also at work. This makes hunting minke whales difficult, both in terms of a decrease in fish that the whales eat, as well as the difficulty entailed in trying to hunt whales which are chasing mackerel.
However, another contributing factor is that the minke whales are staying in southern waters for longer before heading north. Two years ago, a minke whale was hunted in mid-August that was found to have sea lice, meaning that it had only recently come north.