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Make a Difference

Whaling vs. Whale Watching

Iceland is an incredible place to go whale watching, in fact it is one of the best locations in Europe! Whale Watching provides a unique interaction with the whales and helps build the local tourism industry.

Over the years Iceland has become an important whale watching destination and thousands of guests from all over the world join our tours. We educate our guests about the whaling in Iceland and encourage them to support our case further by avoiding whale meat. 

Icelanders didn’t start whaling commercially until 1948. Arguments against whaling is mostly to do with the methodology, also the wastage, as less than 40% of Minke Whale is used - the rest just thrown back into the ocean. Of course, whale watching is more profitable but the government believes that the two can co-exist. 

Elding has actively fought against whaling in Icelandic waters ever since it was sadly resumed in 2003 as 'scientific whaling' and again in 2006 as commercial whaling. Our opposition is based on economical, socio-cultural and animal welfare principles. We believe that greater interests are being threatened by the current whaling scheme and we fear for the impact it may have on whale watching in the future.

Whaling has been taking place near whale watching areas, which threatens the animals that we may otherwise encounter on your tours. In 2013, it was agreed that the no-whaling sanctuary in Faxafloi would be expanded, but unfortunately, the new government took over and reduced it back again to it’s original size.

Through our research we have found that we have been viewing the same individuals time and time again throughout. This indicates that there may not be as many Minke whales left as previously thought.

In 2013 a survey of Icelanders conducted by Gallup and commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found that just 3% of Icelanders have bought whale meat six times or more in the last 12 months. The poll also revealed 75% of Icelanders never buy the meat, with this figure rising to 82% of women and 86% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

Whales are mainly killed to feed tourists. Help us end whaling by choosing whale friendly restaurants and by signing the meet us don't eat us a petition.

Whale Sanctuary (within the red line)
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