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Iceland exports more Fin whale meat to Japan

19/10/2011 22:06:38 Yahoo! urged to stop selling the meat of endangered whales

October 2011. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has confirmed that another 131 tonnes of Icelandic Fin whale meat has been shipped to Japan and renewed its call for global retailer Yahoo! to immediately prohibit the sale of the endangered species via Yahoo! Japan.

The latest shipment brings the total of Fin whale exported to Japan since Iceland resumed commercial whaling to more than 1,500 tonnes, despite the CITES Appendix 1 listing of Fin whales clearly prohibiting international trade

In July, the EIA report Renegade Whaling identified Icelandic company Hvalur and its multi-millionaire boss Kristján Loftsson as hunting Fin whales for export to Japan via a company he helped to set up.

US sanctions
But despite Iceland being certified under the US Pelly Amendment later that same month, it has now been confirmed that in August a new export to Japan took place of 131 tonnes of Fin whale product with an estimated value of 209 million Icelandic króna ($1.7 million).

On September 15, US President Barack Obama stated that Iceland's whaling and trade in the meat threatens the conservation status of an endangered species and undermines multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales. Stopping short of targeted trade sanctions, he nevertheless announced diplomatic measures aiming to push Iceland to halt the trade.

Yahoo!
Yahoo Japan! sells numerous Icelandic Fin whale products, including large (1.5kg) blocks of meat, bacon (blubber) and canned products. As of September 2011, these products and many more were still available on the internet from Yahoo! Japan shopping sites; a survey by EIA found 10 different retailers offering Icelandic Fin whale meat products for sale via Yahoo! Japan.

"At a time when the US Government is applying international pressure to force an end to Iceland's whaling and international trade, Yahoo! Japan is effectively encouraging further hunting of the species by selling endangered Fin whale meat products on its website," said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry.

"It's long past due that Yahoo! put its house in order and stopped profiting from, and stimulating, this bloody and wholly unnecessary slaughter."

EIA first called on Yahoo! Japan in April 2010 to ban all sales of whale, dolphin and porpoise products on its store and auction websites after discovering that many products contained high levels of the neurotoxin mercury.

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