Posted by: The ocean update | October 19, 2015

Beached whale : one month on (Iceland)

Photo : Ragnar Axelsson

Photo : Ragnar Axelsson

Monday, October 19th, 2015. The sperm whale which washed up on a South Iceland beach a month ago has not been removed, as can be seen on the photo above.

When it comes to beached whales, current Icelandic law remains unchanged from the 13th century – whoever owns the land where the animal washes up also owns the whale.

For this reason, the Icelandic word ‘hvalreki’ (meaning ‘the beaching of a whale’) has over the years come to mean – figuratively – a ‘stroke of luck’ or ‘windfall’.

In this case, the owner of the land has simply removed the jaw of the whale, leaving the rest of the animal in peace. The value of a set of teeth from a sperm whale is estimated at ISK 1.5 million – the equivalent of just over €10,000.

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