Endangered Fin Whale Products Exported from Iceland

Written by on September 9, 2011 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law

Emily Tripp
Senior Writer

It was revealed today that Iceland’s commercial whaling industry exported an additional 133 metric tons of endangered fin whale products to Japan in July of this year.

“There is a line in the sand that Iceland has just crossed,” said Allan Thornton, President of the 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 U.S. sanctions against fish imports by the seafood company linked to Iceland’s whaling company will stop this environmental crime.”

Fin whale. Photo: credit NOAA

Fin whale. Photo: credit NOAA

This large amount of endangered whale meat is worth about 1.2 million U.S. dollars and was exported despite the pending threat of U.S. trade sanctions for violating conservation agreements. The Icelandic whaling company “Hvalur” has killed 280 endangered fin whales since 2006. Since Iceland began killing whales, they have exported over 1400 metric tons of fin whale meat and blubber to Japan, worth over 18 million U.S. dollars.

In addition, Iceland has sold whale oil to Norway, the Faroes Islands and Latvia, ignoring the ban on international trade of great whale species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Speices (CITES).

On July 19, Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke certified that Iceland was violating conditions of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by permitting commercial whaling and international trade of endangered species.

The Icelandic Fisheries and Agricultural Ministry was warned in November 2010 that U.S. Law required a response to Iceland’s commercial whale killing. President Obama has until September 17 to report to congress on any action he intends to take.

“This recent export demonstrates the urgent need for President Obama to immediately impose economic measures including trade sanctions against Iceland,” Susan Millward, Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

Sue Fisher, Policy Director for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said today that “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.”


Copyright ©  2011 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. We need to stop the killing of whales, this is just Outrageous