Whale hunters have fallen far under quota, making it very probable that there will be a shortage of whale meat in Iceland this winter.
RÚV reports that minke whale hunting season will be drawing to a close on October 30. Only one launch of the whaling fleet was taken this year, but there were three made last year. Although the total quota allows for up to 229 minke whales to be hunted, only 22 were actually caught – and only 36 the year before.
Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, managing director of the whaling company IP Útgerð, only sells minke whale meat domestically, but predicts that the relatively small cull will lead to a shortage of the meat this winter. Less certain is what is causing the increasingly smaller culls.
Amongst other factors, Gunnar speculates that increasing water temperatures in Faxaflói Bay, a decrease in mackerel, and poor weather on the sea have all led to their being far fewer minke whales this time around.
“We have heard that there are more minke whales up north,” he added. “So maybe we need to look there next year.”
The possibility of a minke whale meat shortage was brought up last August, when only 18 minke whales had been culled at that point.
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.