A Whale Carcass in North Iceland

Last week staff from the Húsavík Whale Museum ventured to Eyjafjörður to take a closer look at a whale carcass on the beach below the farm Neðri-Dálksstaðir, as reported by mbl:

After hiking down to the beach accompanied by some locals, the whale carcass was clearly visible, although the high-tide had submerged it.

The weather was cold and snowy, and a  flock of northern fulmars could be seen sitting around it, occasionally pecking at the dead body.
The carcass was of a small humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), discoloured from the decomposition.

It seems more than likely that the carcass is the same one spotted in Hrísey island last March, as reported by Vísir: https://www.visir.is/g/20242541562d/hrae-hnufu-baks-i-hris-ey-legid-lengi

The winds and currents seem to have brought it further into the fjord, and it could end up traveling more before breaking down completely. But only time will tell.

Humpback whale carcass


Pectoral fin of the whale

Ombudsman Criticizes Whale Hunting Postponement, Urges Regulatory Review

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has submitted his opinion regarding the complaint from Hvalur hf. regarding the postponement of whale hunting. He argues that the regulation on the postponement of the initiation of whale hunting lacks clear legal basis and has not adhered to the requirements of moderation. The Ombudsman points out that when the laws on whale hunting were enacted in 1949, their main objective was the protection and maintenance of the whale population. He emphasizes that these laws have not been revised in light of recent plans for animal welfare, as outlined by the International Whaling Commission.

The opinion includes a timeline of events from the inspection report by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) in 2022 to the recent opinion in January 2024. The Ombudsman sought information from the Ministry of Fisheries regarding the regulation on the temporary postponement of the initiation of whale hunting, which came into effect on September 1st of the previous year. He calls for a review of whale hunting regulations and directs the ministry to consider the perspectives outlined in his opinion for the future. The opinion does not specify conflicts or further actions, but the Ombudsman agrees with the explanations provided by the ministry regarding animal welfare considerations in whale hunting. However, he points out that moderation and the protection of the whale population should be the foundation of legislation in this area.


Read more here:

Picture from Hafró

Holiday Closing Announcement

Dear valued visitors,

As the holiday season approaches, we would like to inform you that the Húsavík Whale Museum will be closed for the festive period from December 24th to January 1st.

During this time, our team will be taking a well-deserved break to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to welcoming you back when we reopen on January 2nd.

Thank you for your continuous support, and we wish you a joyful holiday season filled with warmth, happiness, and unforgettable moments.

Happy holidays from Húsavík Whale Museum!


Entangled humpback whale rescued!

In Alaska, a young humpback whale entangled in a 300lb crab pot was successfully rescued by a team of experts. The rescue mission, which took place on October 11, was prompted by local residents who had spotted the distressed whale near Gustavus, close to Glacier Bay National Park. The residents reported the whale’s unusual behavior, including trailing two buoys and struggling to move freely. The rescue team, including National Park Service personnel and members of the Large Whale Entanglement Response network, determined that the entanglement was life-threatening. The whale was found to be swimming in a tight clockwise circle, intermittently anchored by the heavy crab pot. The rescue team used drone footage to assess the situation and, after hours of effort, successfully freed the whale by cutting the entangling lines. They plan to monitor the whale’s condition in the coming weeks.

Read the full story at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/oct/30/rescuers-free-humpback-whale-hog-tied-crab-pot-alaska

Ocean Films Húsavík 2023

Ocean Films Húsavík is scheduled to occur at the Húsavík Whale Museum during the evenings of August 18th and 19th (from 7 to 11 pm Iceland time). With limited seating, doors will open at 6:45 pm. This film festival, which had its inaugural edition in 2021, presents a collection of ocean-themed films from across the world. The films will also be accessible for online viewing from August 18th to September 1st through the following link: https://vimeo.com/oceanfilmshusavik. This event is a collaborative venture between the Húsavík Whale Museum and the marine conservation organization, Whale Wise.

White beaked dolphin joins Húsavík Whale Museum’s impressive skeleton collection

The Húsavík Whale Museum received a true gem recently when a white beaked dolphin was added to the skeleton collection. This is the 12th skeleton which will be on display inside the museum and the first which is received since the arrival of the blue whale in 2015. Also, it’s the last piece of the puzzle in the game of collecting the most regular whale species of Skjálfandi Bay. It was the museum’s whale specialist Garðar Þröstur Einarsson who picked up the white beaked dolphin from the farm Guðlaugsvík in Hrútafjörður. The bones will now be in a processing mode for about one year before they will be ready for display inside the museum. The Húsavík Whale Museum wants to thank the owners of Guðlaugsvík for the donation and the help when picking up the whale.

white beaked dolphin

The white beaked dolphin stranded in Guðlaugsvík in Hrútafjörður, North West Iceland

Construction work and other ongoing projects

The winters in the north are not known for massive tourism which gives the museum staff space for important updates on exhibitions, construction work, school collaboration etc.

In February a stairwell was built from the museum‘s reading area on the 1st floor, down to the ground floor. This is connected with a new innovation center and a Fab Lab which began operating on the ground floor recently. There will be a collaboration on various basis between the museum and the innovation center so being able to travel between each other inside the building is ideal.

A new security system was recently installed in the museum. The old one was quite outdated so hopefully the new system will ensure the museum‘s security and fire alarm.

The Húsavík Whale Museum was the host of a christmas market on three occasions on the 2021 advent. The goods for sale were mostly local design of various kind. In the days before the museum staff took down the 20th anniversary exhibitions- the story of the Húsavík Whale Museum. It had been on display since May 2019. The new exhibition which will open in the upcoming spring is about the ocean nature. The text is done by the museum but the overall design by Þórarinn Blöndal. Þórarinn has previously designed the blue whale exhibition and the whaling exhibition. A graphic footage is made by Strýtan divecenter in Hjalteyri.

In 2021 the museum received 22 thousand guests. Icelandic visitors made the top of the chart in numbers for the second year in a row. It is not expected to happen for the third time in a row though, as international travelling will probably return to more natural phase in the summer of 2023. From 2016-2019 the Whale Museum received over 30 thousand guests so employees can prepare for a busy summer, given that covid restrictions will be minimal.

Exhibition update.

Today we took down Renata Ortega´s art exhibition that has been on display since middle of 2018. Originally the exhibition was supposed to stay until the end of 2019 to
be replaced by new artists. However, when time came to travel to Iceland the
pandemic forced us to postpone. Now it´s close to spring 2021 and we
still do not know when traveling will be possibly in an pimply way. For now, we will fill
up our empty space with a temporary exhibition about plastic´s in the ocean in collaboration with Ocean Missions.

Ocean Missions is a community of dedicated individuals with passion for ocean conservation.

“We conduct periodic scientific surveys within sensitive conservation areas to gather valuable information for scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders about wildlife and the ocean´s health. We explore places of special scientific interest or remote
locations with difficult access for other vessels. We want to pay special attention to marine debris pollution including fishing gear and plastics, and to study its interaction with marine life.”



The museum is currently looking for support to finance this exhibition. 


The Whale Museum sends much appreciation to Rena for her beautiful exhibition, her artwork will be missed. 


Artwork by Renata Ortega

End of summer

Húsavík Whale Museum’s attendance numbers from June-August 2020 were 11.500. That’s roughly 1/3 of the visitor numbers during the summer months of 2019. When the Covid 19 pandemic was at its peak in Iceland (March-May) the expectation numbers were much lower than the results. The Icelanders were almost 40% of the visitors, with Germany safely in first place of foreign countries.

The Húsavík Whale Museum’s staff would like to thank everybody who visited this summer. The winter projects are next up for the staff members, including maintenance, school collaboration etc.

The museum is open from 11-17 this week but from  September 14th the opening hours will be:

Monday-Friday: 11-17
Saturday-Sunday: 11-15



Dear guests

Following an updated government plan on maximum number of people at one place and social distancing requirements the staff of the Húsavík Whale Museum wants to make a short statement:
The museum will be open for visitors but our customers are encouraged to wash and sanitize their hands before and after their visit. All contact surfaces will be sanitized daily. Markers has been put on the floor which indicate two meters distance. Our visitors will be reminded to respect the two meters rule.

Some areas of the museum where it´s not possible to maintain 2 meter distance will be closed off.
Those regulations will be in charge until 13th August at least.


For more information about restrictions in effect during ban on gatherings go to: