Iceland’s Population is Condemning the Consumption of Whale Meat by Tourist
Posted on September 10th, 2012

Press release-ProWal Nonprofit marine mammal environmental protection society

Radolfzell/Reykjavik – September 10th 2012. – Bloodthirsty and insisting on their traditions – this is how the public envisioned the Icelandic people for many decades, when hearing news about the whale hunts in the Atlantic Ocean of this island-state. A lot has changed since then and the reality looks quite different today.

The German dolphin- and whale-protection organization Prowal visited Iceland for the second time this year and had astounding insights.

Andreas Morlokof ProWal had this to report:”We had conversations with quite a few locals as well as business people. Almost all of them are now against the whale hunt in their own country. Slaughtering whales is to them a thorn in their sides, and only a few whaling outfits and some supermarket chains and a dozen or so restaurants profit by the hunt. But everybody has to bear the shame and the loss of image and some companies are even afraid that they will go under if the whale hunt is being continued. The consumption of whale meat by the people of Iceland has gone down for years. There remain only a few Icelanders, who still eat whale meat, but they will only do so a few times during the year. Tourists are the ones that consume the lion share of the minke whale meat. Many Icelanders condemn this and even loudly complain about this fact. A company that conducts whale watching tours in Reykjavik is rather upset about the interest of many tourists to try whale meat once in their lifetime. If tourist would abstain from this obsession, the market for whale meat would collapse within a short period of time.”

Minke and fin whales are being hunted in Iceland. Fin whales, this species is listed as endangered, are caught only for export to Japan. This year, however, the Japanese did not order any fin whale meat, because they are sitting on a mountain of several thousand tons of whale meat, for which there is no market and on top of that there is no money for buying more after the tsunami catastrophe. The two whaling vessels owned by the company “Hvlur” are anchored in the harbor of Reykjavik at the moment and are being kept at the ready. The company is hoping for orders from Japan. Minke whales are exclusively hunted for the home market. While there is little whale meat to be found in some supermarkets, the restaurants in Reykjavik are lined up and offer the meat of minke whales raw as sushi or grilled as whale steak.

Andreas Morlok:” A few days ago the situation in Reykjavik was totally absurd. The hunting season for minke whales was starting around the coast of Iceland. While the tourists on the whale watching boats could not observe any big whales around the harbor of Reykjavik – only a few dolphins were observed “”…” which was rather disappointing for the tourist, a few kilometers further out a whaling company was slaughtering minke whales. The whaling boat “Hafsteinn”, which is normally anchored in the harbor of Hafnafjoerdur, could not be observed there for days. Several whale-watching outfits are now afraid that they will lose their customers and should the tourist continue to eat even more whale meat, they are afraid for their existence if they cannot show any more living whales swimming free in the ocean to their guests on board.”

ProWal has no knowledge of any Barbarians of the North, who bloodthirstily slaughter whales simply for tradition’s sake, and would even go to task for the Icelanders.

Andreas Morlok: Nowadays, the Icelanders are a very dolphin- and whale-friendly people. There are several research projects going on that are conducted in cooperation by foreign and locale scientist. Everything that can be found out about the 26 dolphin species, that live in the Icelandic waters, is being investigated by non-lethal methods. Large vessels that are conducting this scientific research about whales and dolphins are anchored in the harbor of Reykjavik or along the coast.

At the end of July a huge pod of pilot whales, about 200-300 animals strong, was feared to beach themselves at the town of Akranes. People were afraid that all these animals would die, since the leading animal had beached itself already. Many Icelanders from the shore as well as from boats immediately participated in an emergency action to save the animals and the people were successful to herd the animals back out to sea. All the animals could be saved and people were extremely happy about this fact.”

ProWal started an educational campaign, which will be renewed every year. The members of this new founded organization will distribute informatory pamphlets to tourist.

Monika Laubach of ProWal had this to add:” Most of the tourists do not even realize what kind of a poison-cocktail they ingest by eating whale meat. The whales collect in their system high concentrations of PCB’s, cadmium, pesticides as for instance Dieldrin and other chemicals during the course of their lives. Whale meat has 100 times higher concentrations of such poisons than other fish. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) as well the World Health Organization (WHO) are warning against the consume of whale products, since the normal limits are greatly exceeded. The consequences of eating whale meat can be horrendous. Severe learning disabilities, loss of memory, weakening of the immune system, disruptions of the motional and central nervous system, heightened risk of getting Parkinson’s Disease, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, heightened risk for insulin deficiency and diabetes in the elderly. Furthermore, the semen quality in men is markedly reduced by PCB’s and methyl-mercury. PCB’s and DDT’s are furthermore known to be carcinogens. It is not strange, why even Japan shows no interest in buying any of this poisonous cocktail from Iceland and has not imported any of the minke whale meat. Why the Icelandic government does not protect their guests and their own people from these poisons and does not even warn them about what consequences the consumption of whale meat can have, is absolutely incredible. It is the assumption that the current government is trying to keep a trump card in their deck as a means to pressure their acceptance into the EU, where the whale hunt is prohibited. It appears that there are no other justifiable reasons to continue the whale hunt in Iceland and it will only hurt the Icelanders more than it will profit them.”

ProWal

Nonprofit marine mammal environmental protection society

GUG (limited) –

Tax no. 18 158/02 431

Freiburg District Court HR B 704 171

CEO: Andreas Morlok

HaydnstraƒÆ’†’ƒ…‚¸e 1

D-78315 Radolfzell

Tel: 0049 (0) 7732 14 324

E-mail: ProWal-Deutschland@t-online.de

Internet: www.walschutzaktionen.de

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