Iceland abandons Fin whale hunt - For now08/05/2012 10:46:55
Threat of US sanctions
In July 2011, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke invoked the Pelly Amendment and certified Iceland for its continued slaughter of both fin and minke whales, stating that Iceland’s disregard for the global ban on commercial whaling was ‘unacceptable’.
He recommended a series of diplomatic measures including linking US cooperation on Arctic projects to Iceland’s whaling policy and ensuring US delegations and senior Administration officials raise US concerns, evaluating the appropriateness of visits to Iceland and monitoring the activities.
May 2012. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has welcomed the news that Iceland has called an end to the cruel practice of harpooning endangered Fin whales.
Kristjan Loftsson, the lone Icelandic whaler responsible for killing 280 Fin whales (Seven Fin whales were killed in Iceland's waters in 2006, 125 in 2009 and 148 in 2010.) in Icelandic waters over the past six years, cited difficulties in trading the meat with Japan following its tsunami tragedy as a reason for cancelling last year's hunt. He has now abandoned plans to train his harpoons on the whales in 2012, according to Icelandic media reports.
Whale watching possibilities
Icelandic media reports that Loftsson failed to reach collective agreement with the Association of Icelandic Fishermen on salaries and conditions for deckhands and that he believes the market for whale meat in Japan has still not recovered since the 2011 tsunami. Loftsson regularly exports relatively small amounts of Fin whale meat to his own company in Japan, but has yet to find a demand for the meat on the Japanese market.
Minke whale hunt continues
In total, 58 Minke whales were killed in Iceland last season, by two companies. This was from a self-allocated catch limit of 216. The first Minke whales of the 2012 whaling season were harpooned in recent weeks.
In 2011 IFAW launched its ‘Meet Us Don't Eat Us' campaign in Iceland, encouraging tourists visiting the country to support responsible whale watching but to avoid sampling whale meat. The campaign will continue this summer.