Shortage of Minke Whale Meat in Iceland

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Shortage of Minke Whale Meat in Iceland

Icelandic minke whale meat.

Icelandic minke whale meat. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Minke whalers have only caught 18 animals this year, which is does not meet the demands of grocery stores and restaurants in Iceland, visir.is reports.

“It would be good to have ten more. I have 300 kilos left of the last whale and that will all be gone on Monday,” said Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, the executive manager of Hrefnuveiðimenn ehf.

Gunnar stated that minke whalers intend to catch about as many whales as last year, somewhere in the range of 40 to 50, even if it takes longer than usual. The whaling season lasts until October 30.

Weather conditions have been poor as of late and schools of mackerel that have passed through Faxaflói bay, the main hunting territory, have left little food for the minkes which therefore seek food elsewhere. Minkes also feed on mackerel, but if a whale happens to be chasing fish, it moves so fast that harpooning it becomes difficult.

Whalers say there is reason to believe that the migratory patterns of minkes have been somewhat altered, and that the animals are spending more time in southern waters than usually. Two years ago a minke whale caught in mid-August was found to be carrying a parasite which doesn’t thrive in the waters around Iceland.    

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