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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



Iceland fin whale catches

Sounds like the whaling in Iceland is going well.

We can tell, because WDCS is "outraged" and making assertions about the economics of the situation, as is prominent Icelandic anti-whaling voice Arni Finnsson, who also claims "damage to Iceland’s international reputation is huge" (by some undescribed measure).

Assuming the reports about the catches are accurate, this will amount to a significant amount of fin whale meat imports in to Japan, which should have a noticeable impact on the whale meat inventory statistics, after the imports take place. (Indeed, some may have been imported already.)

Good luck to Iceland's whalers in their efforts.

* * *

Update: Scrolling back through some history I see some earlier reports from August about the good progress:
1) Successful Whaling Season in Iceland
2) Whaling season in Iceland “a success”

* * *

Another update: A New York Times blog has an related post entitled "Iceland Defends Its Hunt of 94 Fin Whales". It includes a piece from Iceland's IWC Commissioner, but in the comments section Arni Finnsson himself pops up to tell us what he thinks in some detail.

Interesting is that Finnsson appears convinced that the Japanese market for fin whale meat products is essentially satisfied as it is, and there will be no market for much of this years' Icelandic fin whale meat which he estimates through some kind of peculiar logic to be between 10 and 30 times too high in supply (if I am reading him correctly?). Regular readers of this blog who are familiar with the Japanese whale meat inventory statistics will likely see problems with his logic (as I do), and he also seems to have his facts wrong in one instance (at least), but at the end of the day time will tell whether the fin whale meat products gain export revenue for Iceland from the Japanese market or not.

I suspect that Finnsson won't be changing his anti-whaling stance even if/when the economic viability of this activity has been demonstrated, but we shall see.

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Hi David,

Now, it's Sydney Holt's turn to pop up in the comments to the NYT blog !
As usual, as he's a man of the past, Holt uses a backward-looking stance to criticize Iceland's whaling. He however fails to mention that the IWC/SC made an assessment for fin whale populations in that area and that they are not endangered.

As to whether Iceland is right in catching those whales by objecting to the moratorium, he should rather ask himself whether the moratorium is useful and relevant to IWC's original mandate.
Hi David, My name is Dale, I am a whaling historian and collector of items re: whaling, some comrades from Europe and myself, are coming to Japan sept 24 to oct 8, to do a lot of things whaling related. We know of a few whale meat restaurants and stores - do you have a more comprehensive list that you could email? just found your blog, very enjoyable, thanks Dvinnedge@earthlink.net

I suppose these people think their best chance of getting Iceland to stop whaling now is to see if they can stir up the Americans into pressuring them or something, and the New York Times might be a good focal point for them. Mr. Holt's comment seemed a bit jumbled to me though, I trust he is in good health.


Thanks for your comment.

I don't have a list as such.. I tend to just stumble across restaurants serving whale every now and then, or fellow whale eating friends will tell me about places they have seen or been, but there is a list of restaurants (in Japanese...) available on the www.e-kujira.or.jp website.

Besides these though I think a lot of Japanese style "izakaya" restaurants around Tokyo serve whale, and there are probably more than anyone could list by themselves I suspect.

That's not to say that you can get it anywhere, which would certainly not be true, but I myself am often surprised to find the odd whale dish in some random restaurant.

Let me drop you an email.
Whaling season will continue all September in Iceland. 67 minkes have been killed.
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