COOPERATION BETWEEN IFAW AND ICEWHALE
Meet Us Don’t Eat Us is a joint project between IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and IceWhale (The Association of Icelandic Whale Watchers) and was launched in Reykjavík in the spring of 2010. So far around 200 volunteers from 26 countries have participated in the project which runs from May to September each year in Reykjavík.
THE AIM IS TO END COMMERCIAL WHALING
The aim is to inform and educate tourists about the facts regarding whale meat consumption in Iceland and gain their support to end commercial whaling instead of contributing to it by tasting it in Reykjavík restaurants. In reality, whale meat consumption is not that common and whale hunting is not a traditional activity in Iceland. Commercial whaling actually started only in 1948 with the company Hvalur inc. in Hvalfjordur. Before that most of the whaling around Iceland was conducted by Norwegians and English, Danish, Dutch , Basques and others.
POSITIVE CAMPAIGN THAT SHOWS THE SUSTAINABLE WAY TO ENJOY WHALES IS BY WHALE WATCHING
Meet Us Don’t Eat Us is a positive campaign because although this is a serious subject we want to approach tourists and indeed Icelanders in a constructive way, pointing out that the best sustainable way to enjoy whales is by responsible whale watching. By distributing informative leaflets, promoting ‘whale friendly’ restaurants which display the logo in their window and collecting signatures on postcards we regularly present to the fisheries minister urging him to stop whaling and encourage people to support whale watching, we are making people better aware how much their behaviour and choices matter.
WHALE WATCHING AND WHALE KILLING DO NOT GO TOGETHER
80% of the minke whales killed in Iceland are harpooned close to the whale watching area in Faxaflói bay outside Reykjavík. These whales will never be seen again by people going whale watching. The biggest proof that whale watching and whaling cannot co-exist is the fact that the whale watching operators say it cannot and they therefore work closely with IFAW to help us end the killing.
SUCCESS SINCE WHALE MEAT CONSUMPTION IN ICELAND IS GOING DOWN
So far surveys show whale meat consumption by tourists is down by half since our project started but we set our aim even higher.
You can help by choosing whale friendly restaurant.
When you are in downtown Reykjavík area or at the old harbor during the summer you will likely see our volunteers in action. Please show interest in their important contribution to whale protection and choose a whale friendly restaurant when you are in Iceland. Your positive contribution is highly appreciated.