The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has launched the free Whappy app in a bid to persuade people to meet whales rather than eat them.
The app, which was launched in Reykjavik, aims to keep fin and minke whales, both of which are fished in Icelandic waters, safe. It provides visitors in the country with information on how they can find tour operators that can arrange whale watching trips for them.
The app includes an identification guide that enables users to learn about the whales and dolphins they spot on such tours. Furthermore, it gives a guide to restaurants that have vowed not to dish up whale meat, while it can also advise you on where to buy the best whales souvenirs.
IFAW has long since been educating Icelanders that it is inhumane to kill whales, no matter how it is done, because their size means they endure a lengthy, agonising death.
The group’s Icelandic representative Sigursteinn Masson explained that the app could help inform tourists on the best places to go whale watching, as well as inform them on how to be whale friendly while in the country and not leave “with a bad taste in their mouth”.
He went on to say that Iceland offered the chance to see whales in their natural environment, but that many tourists did not realise the contradiction in whale watching during the day then eating whale meat at night. He explained that very few Icelanders ate whales these days, so when visitors did so they were contributing towards the creatures being killed.
Just three per cent of people in the North Atlantic nation eat whale meat regularly but tourists often believe it is part of local culture.