Tourists in Greenland are being sold whale meat in direct violation of a ban on commercial sales of whale meat by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). According to an investigation by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, whale meat in various forms is freely on offer at tourist-focused restaurants and supermarkets in Greenland, a territory of Denmark. Under international agreements, Greenland is allowed to catch a quota of whales to provide for the subsistence needs of indigenous Inuit people; tourists and non-Inuit Greenlanders are not supposed to have access to the catch.
At the annual International Whaling Commission meeting next month, Denmark is expected to ask for an increase in the number of whales that can be killed legally in order to meet the subsistence needs of Inuit communities. WDCS head Chris Butler-Stroud notes, “Our investigation report shows that this demand for more whale meat is clearly driven by the commercial consumer market not by aboriginal needs. Greenland’s native-born population has increased by around just 9.9% in the last 24 years and yet, the request for more large whales by Greenland in the same period has increased by 89 percent.”
This video shot by WDCS in 2010 documents how whale products originally destined for indigenous cultural and nutritional needs are actually being sold at premium prices in supermarkets and to restaurants.
The video documents that the hunted whales are not killed outright, but injured then have buoys attached so that the animals can be taken to a suitable location for butchering.
Photo by Patrick Müller via Flickr