- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 30, 2005

OSLO (UPI) — A Norwegian seafood company is touting its whale burgers in hopes of reviving interest in whale meat.

The Karsten Ellingsen Co. in the Lofoten Islands advertises its “Lofotburger” as “tasty and tender,” the newspaper Aftenposten reports.

The same company markets “Lofotskinke,” which it describes as pastrami made from whale meat and containing only 1 percent fat.

Sales of whale meat have dropped in Norway, while the government — along with Japan — plans to increase the catch of minke whales.

Anti-whaling groups like the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society in Britain have denounced whale burgers and other attempts to find new ways of selling whale meat as “an attempt to revive a dying industry.”

Ulf Ellingsen, owner of the Karsten Ellingsen Co., said he sees the anti-whale meat push as free publicity.

“People will become more and more curious,” Mr. Ellingsen told Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. “I don’t think people will let themselves be scared off by the criticism.”

Earlier this month, the Reuters news agency reported that a Japanese fast-food chain is also offering whale burgers as a new product aimed at using up stocks from past hunts.

For about $4, a slice of fried minke whale in a bun is on sale at Lucky Pierrot, a restaurant chain in the port city of Hakodate on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido.

“The taste and texture are somewhere between beef and fish,” said chain manager Miku Oh.

“People in Hakodate have a long history of eating whale, so customers are looking forward to trying it.”

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