Hunting whales has long been a part of Iceland’s tradition, but that tradition is set to expire after the island nation suspended commercial whale hunting this year. Demand by tourists for “traditional” minke whale meat in Icelandic restaurants has partially driven the hunt for minke whales in the past.
In 2017, restaurants in Iceland bought 60% of minke whale meat. A large part of that is consumed by tourists visiting Iceland—the largest proportion of whom are from the United States and the United Kingdom. But now that whale watching is one of the top tourist attractions in Iceland and Icelandic support for whaling and consumption of whale meat is at an all-time low, it seems whale hunting may soon be a thing of the past in Iceland.
The good news stands in stark contrast to news from Japan—which resumed commercial whaling last week on July 1st.