Sunday, 21 June 2015

See the whales … don’t eat them

A FREE 'Whappy' app, launched in #Reykjavik by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has information about restaurants which have pledged not to serve whale meat, plus #whale-watching operators, whale-friendly souvenirs, and an identification guide for whales and dolphins that can be seen in Icelandic waters.

Sigursteinn Masson, IFAW's Icelandic representative, said: ‘The new app is another way of informing tourists visiting our beautiful country about the wonder of whale watching, but it also helps them to make whale-friendly decisions. Many tourists are not fully aware of the contradiction of going whale-watching and then later eating whale meat. Icelanders have very little appetite for whale meat these days, so if tourists sample whale meat in our restaurants they are contributing directly to the number of whales being killed.’

In collaboration with whale-watching operators, IFAW operates a summer Meet Us Don't Eat Us campaign in Iceland, a project launched in 2010 after it became apparent that with only a tiny percentage of Icelanders claiming to eat whale meat regularly, tourists had become a significant part of the domestic market for minke whale meat.

At the time, whale meat could be found on the menu of all but a handful of restaurants in central Reykjavik. The percentage of tourists who say they have tasted whale meat has more than halved over the last five years from 40% in 2009 to 18% in 2014. The whale friendly restaurants scheme has resulted in less than 50% of restaurants now offering whale meat. The rest have pledged not to serve whale meat and display a whale-friendly sticker.

Masson added: ‘We hope tourists and tour operators will use our Whappy app and help to enhance tourists' experience. Iceland is one of the best destinations in Europe for whale-watching with the opportunity to see a huge variety of species of whale and dolphin.’

Whale-watching is one of the top tourist attractions in Iceland, generating approximately £10 million annually and attracting more than 220,000 tourists a year.

Go Holiday news :

Picture Credit:">Whale Watching Hervey Bay Australia by eGuide</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license),">Waterfall in Iceland</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)

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