Saturday, 17 September 2011

Iceland exports 131 tonnes whale meat, despite sanction threat

The Icelandic killing of Fin whales is illegal'
September 2011: More than 100 tonnes of whale products from Iceland's endangered Fin whales was exported in July - despite the pending threat of US trade sanctions.

America had warned Iceland it was considering the sanctions because it had violated a global ban on commercial whaling - but this has failed to prevent the export of a further 133 metric tonnes of whale meat.

The meat, worth more than $1.2million was exported to Japan in July.

Only US sanctions will stop this crime‘There is a line in the sand that Iceland has just crossed,' said Allan Thornton, president of America's Environmental Investigation Agency.

‘The Icelandic killing of Fin whales is illegal and its illegal export of whale meat will lead to further illegal killing of Fin whales. Only US sanctions against fish imports by the seafood company linked to Iceland's whaling company will stop this environmental crime.'

Since 2006, 280 endangered Fin whales, the second largest animal on the planet, have been killed by the Icelandic whaling company Hvalur, and earlier this year America confirmed that Iceland was undermining the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by permitting commercial whaling and international trade in endangered Fin whale meat.

Iceland has exported almost 1400 metric tonnes of Fin whale meat and blubber to Japan , worth around $18 million, since it began killing Fin whales.

Meat shipped to Japan, Norway and LatviaAs well as the shipments of whale meat and blubber to Japan, Iceland has exported whale products including whale oil to Norway, the Faroes Islands and Latvia, despite a ban on such international trade in products of great whale species by the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Conservationists are now pressing for action. Sue Fisher, policy director for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said: ‘Not only is Iceland abusing two international conservation agreements, it is setting Fin whale quotas that are three times higher than sustainable levels according to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the world's foremost authority on whale science.

‘American citizens overwhelmingly oppose commercial whaling, and nothing less than economic sanctions will fulfill President Obama's promise to strengthen the commercial ban on whale hunting.'

Susan Millward, executive director of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) said: ‘This recent export demonstrates the urgent need for President Obama to immediately impose economic measures including trade sanctions against Iceland.'

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