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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Deception over whale meat demand in Iceland?

Another article in the IcelandReview from Daniel Heimpel. I seem to have seen this on someone's blog once, a few months ago - it's about Iceland's scientific research programmes, and well worth a read.
Early results indicate minkes eat more cod than local scientists recently thought. The smallest of the baleen whales, minkes are equipped with short stiff baleen allowing for a varied diet, including cod, the fish that about a quarter of Iceland’s total export earnings come from.
“Last year all the meat was sold,” Víkingsson says.
Really? I've been reading from various sources that because there is no demand in Iceland for whale meat, and (alledgedly) no export market, that Iceland's decision to resume whaling makes no sense.

While whale meat accounts for less than one percent of meat sold through the country’s largest meat seller, Nóatún, it is enormously popular in restaurants.

In Reykjavík’s Saegreifinn restaurant, they call it “Moby Dick on a Stick” and sell it to tourists fresh off whale-watching trips. In Akureyri, a waitress at the popular Bautinn says that minke meat is the favorite special.

I have a growing suspicion that, as is the case in Japan, these reports about a lack of demand in Iceland could be (deliberately?) inaccurate. I would not be surprised if the reports we are hearing in the western media about a lack of demand in Iceland is actually more due to a lack of supply.

Recently when Iceland annouced it would resume exports of whale meat to the Faroe Islands, it turned out that this involved only half a tonne or so of meat. The amount was so insignificant that it seems this may have been a more politically motivated move than a commercial one.

Of course, Iceland has a small population, so there is certainly not the potential demand for whale meat in Iceland that there is in Japan, but still I find myself wondering if the meat from this new commercial hunt could not find some hungry stomachs up there in the North Atlantic. There will only be a few hundred tonnes of it, after all.

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Check out this inspired caption in the Economist: "Good for dog food, bad for tourism."

The once so admirable magazine does not shy from circulating the "whaling as international crime" meme:

"Iceland is not the only transgressor: Norway openly breaches the moratorium, while Japanese scientists claim the need to kill quite a few whales."

Now, we are all accustomed to the trite old lie that Norway is "breaching" the moratorium, but it's more than a tad disappointing to see it rehashed in the Economist, which featured quite a fair and balanced overview on whaling just a few years ago:

There's also this little gem: "ALONG with pandas and tigers, whales are among the most charismatic of megafauna. They sing, they socialise and they look after one another. They are impressively big and surprisingly graceful. They seem somehow wise and sad."

Never mind that none of this applies to, say, minke. I know the Economist has been declining lately, but still I did expect a little better from that quarter than from Time and suchlike... Oh well.

Not only a largely uninformative article, a misinformative one at that :-)
woah, this article is subjective on this arguement.

"Polls also reveal that few Icelanders enjoy eating whale, which tastes like stewing steak infused with tuna oil. "

"Whaling nations have amassed a blubber mountain, despite desperate measures, such as mixing the stuff into dog food."

"The IWC will probably never allow whaling to resume unless Japan succeeds in its effort to stack the membership with sympathetic but implausible countries, such as landlocked Mongolia. "

This is just so bad! In my mind has the Economist now been downgraded to a tabloid. I urge you, David, to send them letter with the some of the hard facts! :)

Nah, it's not worth it, I think whoever wrote that article was getting something under the table from one of those suspicious sources of ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOIDS that we know so well...

It's amazing that the editorial staff let this crazy conspiracy theorist nonsense in to their print though. They probably would feel embarassed if someone were to point it out.
Just saw this letter, thought you guys might be interested:

Whaling away
Lebanon Daily News

The battle over Icelandic whaling is in essence cultural. A traditional hunting culture is pitted against modern eco-tourism. The two have to be combinable.

In the Nordics’ westernmost countries you can buy T-shirts with the text “If We Had Dolphins, We’d Kill Them Too.”

The jokesters are of course referring to the contested whale hunt, and illustrate a deep rift between those who are for and against this bloody tradition.

... Negotiations are needed, since the issue of whale hunting has received an unnecessary emotional charge. For Icelanders and Norwegians, the hunt has become a symbol for independence and national pride. Hundreds of people applauded by the dock when a dead fin whale was towed in last Saturday.

Opponents sometimes display equally irrational traits. Europeans and Americans who gladly eat hamburgers refuse to accept even the hunting of whales who are not endangered.

The Icelandic fishing authority’s permit to hunt 39 whales, including nine red-listed fin whales, can serve as a starting point for a more enlightened debate. The hunting of endangered species is of course deplorable, but there is no reason to outlaw all whaling for all time. ...

—Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, Sweden
>"whaling as international crime"

WOW! \(*0*)/
And P.Watson is angel???

Pls give me some medicine.

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