Whales rot in Iceland

Feature story - January 23, 2007
OK, so let's get this right. Iceland announces the resumption of commercial whaling, kills seven endangered fin whales, but now can't sell the meat.

An endangered fin whale, is brought to the harbour of Hvalfjörður, Iceland. The fin whale is the first kill by Iceland and marks the resumption to commercial whaling for the country in 2006.

One whaler in Iceland says that most of it is unfit for human consumption, but that he's going to try to sell it to Japan anyway.

But in Japan there's already 5000 tonnes of stockpiled whale meat, and it's doubtful that they'll get excited about more, especially if it is toxic! Not only that but very few Japanese people regularly eat whale meat.

About 200 tonnes of the whale meat is in storage in Iceland waiting for testing for contamination.  Marine pollution does have an effect on whales, as they're at the top of the food chain.  Man-made chemicals like PCB's build up in blubber and fat and, of course, whales are at the top of the food chain.

In Norway, pregnant women are told not to eat whale meat because of the possible toxic effects.

So what's the point?  The whales are endangered, the meat may be toxic, and even if it were ok, there's no market for it.

There's now a huge split in Iceland with the whale watching industry now starting to suffer because of the decision to go whaling.  Large companies are now speaking up against the whaling.

Iceland should just admit it - keep the whales alive for the whale watching industry.  It makes more sense:  you can only kill a whale once - but you can watch it over and over again.  

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