Environmental and animal-welfare groups are urging the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to persuade the World Health Organization (WHO) to act over fears about eating whale meat.
The coalition of organisations wants the WHO to issue guidelines amid fears about the safety of the meat.
The groups say whale meat is highly contaminated with mercury and should not be eaten.
But whaling nations say they already have health guidelines in place.
For the past weeks, anti-whaling activists have been drafting a letter aimed at persuading governments to act, in particular, trying to draw attention to the issue of consuming meat of smaller whales and dolphins, known as small cetaceans.
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It’s quite wrong to use the term ‘health hazard’”
End Quote Kate Sanderson Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Faroe Islands
They say dangerously high levels of mercury accumulate up the food chain.
Small cetaceans, like tooth whales and pilot whales, are near the top of it and therefore a lot more toxic compounds tend to accumulate in these mammals’ tissues than in smaller inhabitants of the marine world, warn the NGOs.
Currently, the WHO does not have any guidelines regarding the consumption of whale meat, but its website does list mercury as one of the top 10 chemicals of major public health concern.
source : bbc