Iceland Mag

14 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

More whale to be hunted this year, primarily to satisfy demand from foreign visitors

By Staff

  • Minke whale Whalers have never used their full quota of whales, due to lack of demand. Growing tourism is now boosting demand, increasing the number of whales killed. Photo/Jón Sigurðsson

More whales will be killed this year than last year, whale hunters expect. The primary reason is growing demand, generated by restaurants who cater to foreign visitors interested in tasting whale meat while in Iceland.

Last year 46 minke whales were shot in the waters around Iceland, compared to 30 whales in 2015. Hunters are allowed to shoot far more animals, but there is not demand for more whale meat and the whalers only shoot as much as they expect to sell each year. This year's the quota is 224 animals. 

Read more: Chiefly tourists, not Icelanders, sustaining hunting of mink whales in Icelandic waters

Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, the manager of the whaling firm IP-útgerð told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that the growing tourism industry has provided an important boost the whaling industry. Restaurants buy 60% of all whale meat which goes to market, while 40% is sold to supermarkets. More than 100 restaurants in Iceland offer whale on their menu.

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