Whale Meat Returned to Sender

Written by on July 30, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law
Hvalur whaling ships.

Hvalur whaling ships. Photo credit: Ingvar_Sv via photopin cc.

A shipment of 130 tons of fin whale meat recently arrived back in Iceland after the shipping company, Samskip, agreed not to export it.

Two shipping companies were involved in the transport of the whale meat, Samskip and the Evergreen Line, and both have publicly stated that they will no longer handle whale meat.

Iceland resumed the hunting of fin whales this year after a two year suspension due to a lack of demand. This season, the whalers from Hvalur, Iceland’s biggest whaling company have killed 50 endangered fin whales so far. That number could reach as high as 184 by the end of the season.

According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Hvalur’s managing director Kristjan Loftsson says the return of the meat is “not the end of the world.”

Iceland continues whaling when most other countries have stopped because it doesn’t recognize the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on whaling. The other famous whaling nation, Japan, continues to hunt whales for scientific research, a term that many think is simply a disguise for commercial whaling.

Japan and Australia are still in a heated legal battle over Japan’s right to continue whaling. The case was brought to the International Court of Justice and ended last Tuesday but a decision isn’t expected for months.

Despite the court case and a general decline in whale meat consumption, some remain dedicated to the profession.

BBC’s Jo Fidgen was recently aboard a whaling vessel in Norway where about 500 minke whales are killed every year. Fidgen witnessed the hunt first-hand and discussed whaling with the crew members. Read the whole piece to get a different perspective on the issue — but beware, there are some slightly graphic images.

Fin whale.

Fin whale. Photo credit: Lori Mazzuca, AFSCK/NOAA.

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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