Up to 70,000 Britons who visit Iceland each year have been given a stiff warning by the Foreign Office not to bring home any whale meat, saying to do so is in breach of international law protecting endangered species.
Penalties of imprisonment or fines up to £5,000 could be meted out by the courts, says the Foreign Office, because importation into Britain and other EU countries is illegal under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites).
The government has added the warning to its advice on travelling to Iceland after being alerted to the fact that whale meat is on sale at Keflavik airport. Environment department Defra, responsible for border checks on illegal food imports, said: “There have been no reports of whale meat on sale in the UK or being seized at the border.”
Icelandic whalers are trying to win tourists over to their point of view, offering them the chance to go to see with them, feel harpoons and eat whale meat and blubber.