Greenland's Whale Meat Going More to Tourists Than Locals

Visit Greenland/CC BY 2.0

The international ban on whaling allows exemptions for scientific research (which Japan claims, though few save the Japanese government believe this) as well as subsistence hunting in places where whaling is a traditional cultural activity. Greenland is one of these latter places. However, an investigation by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has found that far more whale meat is being served to tourists than to locals.

WDCS reports their investigators visited restaurants and hotels targeting tourists, as well as supermarkets, and found that whale meat was readily available, including meat from endangered fin whales.

In 24 of the 31 restaurants researched in the investigation fin, bowhead or minke whale meat was available for tourist consumption.

WDCS raises some serious questions: In the past 24 years Greenland's native population has increased 9.9%, while the number of whales it has requested to kill has increased 89%, all while the number of licensed hunters has declined 39%.

Greenland is an overseas territory of Denmark, which argues that it needs 670 tons of whale meat each year to meet local aboriginal demand, and wants to increase the number of both fin whales and humpbacks it can kill to do so. It's expected that Denmark will ask the International Whaling Commission for expanded hunting quotas at the IWC meeting next month.

Tags: Denmark | Greenland | Whales