Iceland To Import Minke Whale Meat As Not Enough Are Hunted - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland To Import Minke Whale Meat As Not Enough Are Hunted

Published August 2, 2017

Zoë Vala Sands
Photo by
International Whaling Commission

Only 17 minke whales have been caught in Iceland so far this year, which means that whale meat will have to be imported from Norway to meet demand, reports RÚV.

Gunnar Bergmann Jónssonn, the CEO of IP Útgerð–the only company that hunts minke whale in Iceland–told RÚV that this year’s yield has been poor. The hunting of minke whale began in June, but the catch has been a meagre 17 whales so far, which according to Gunnar means that fewer animals will be caught in 2017 than last year when 46 were hunted.

Around 50 whales are needed to meet domestic demand for whale meat, but the annual hunting quota is 269 whales, which has not been fully utilised in recent years.

A worrisome trend

“Last year was the first time in 3 years that we have not had to import whale meat from Norway to meet demand in Iceland. So it looks as though we will have Norwegian minke whale for sale in the country this year.”

The fishing industry is authorised to hunt minke whale for 6 months after the first catch of the year, so hunting may continue until December, but Gunnar expects that by September the weather will be too bad for hunting.

National embarrassment 

Gunnar says that there could be multiple reasons for the meagre catch, with global warming being a possible culprit.

No matter the reason, the simple truth is: this is embarrassing. Icelanders are supposed to be the best in the world at killing whales–the best! And if we fail to meet demand then we really are losers. If we are to keep up with the trends of the New Nordic Cuisine then this, and that should be made with good Icelandic minke whales, not their weak Norwegian relatives.

Don’t go global, eat local.

Correction: The number of whales in the quota has been updated.

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