Skip to content

Don’t eat whale meat in Iceland

Would you be shocked to learn that minke whales are harpooned each summer off Iceland largely to cater for tourist demand?

Whales belong in the sea, not on your plate!

Whale meat and other products are widely available in restaurants, supermarkets and aboard cruise ships. You may be offered it in buffets or barbeques, but be aware that the meat may also appear unlabelled in dishes identified as ‘traditional’, ‘local specialities’ or ‘A Taste of Iceland’.

Most of the meat on offer comes from minke whales, but tourists are also targeted to sample gimmicky fin whale products such as ‘whale beer’ or pickled whale blubber at the midwinter festival of Thorrablot.

However, contrary to popular belief, eating whale meat is neither traditional nor popular in Iceland! Minke whaling is a relatively recent industry and latest surveys show that only 1.5 % of the Icelandic population regularly consumes whale meat.

Iceland is an increasingly popular destination. In 2017, a record 2.2 million people visited, with many travelling from anti-whaling regions such as the UK, Germany and North America.

Whaling boats frequently operate close to whale watching areas, this means that a whale enjoyed by watchers one morning may be targeted by whalers that afternoon.

WDC is working with other NGOs to urge tourists to ignore the marketing hype and restaurant billboards and remain true to their core values. The fact is that whaling is a cruel and wasteful industry that has no place in the 21st century.

We need your help!

If you are travelling to Iceland, please have a look at our flyer.

Look out for ‘Whale friendly’ stickers on restaurants and cafes and support these venues as much as possible to encourage the owners to remain so!

Please try to avoid any venues where whale meat is served. If that’s not possible, politely ask for a message to be passed to the restaurant owner that you would prefer that they didn’t offer whale products. If enough people make that request, the venue receives a clear message that tourists don’t want to see dead whales on the menu.

Simply by opting not to eat whale meat, you are helping to reduce demand - and thus, reduce the incentive for the whalers to continue their cruel trade is diminished.

This simple act will help us enormously in our efforts to keep whales in the sea - rather than on a plate - allowing current visitors, as well as future generations, to enjoy seeing whales and dolphins in the wild.