A Win for the Whales: Iceland Stops Fin Whaling
Fin whales near Iceland get another reprieve this year. For the second year in a row, Iceland has suspended it's whale hunt. It is a good call for the fin whales which are the world’s second largest animal and are listed as an endangered species.
In 2011, Iceland postponed its fin whale season because of a lack of demand for fin whale meat in Japan after the tsunami. This year, luckily for the whales there is the speculation that fin whaling giant Kristjan Loftsson – the man responsible for all of Iceland’s fin whaling – failed to reach collective agreement with the Association of Icelandic Fishermen on salaries and conditions for deckhands.
However since 2006, Iceland has killed 280 endangered fin whales and hundreds of minke whales since it resumed whaling that year in violation of the moratorium on commercial whaling. Iceland dramatically increased its self allocated fin whale quota to 150 animals a year in 2009. This was more than three times the catch limit that the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee considers sustainable for the species’ survival.
Unlike other countries that rely on whale meat for subsistence purposes, Iceland has only a limited domestic market for minke whales, and the Iceland people have not traditionally eaten fin whales. Although Iceland had hoped to find a profitable market in Japan, it's warehouses were already filled with thousands of tons of excess whale meat from its own whaling program. The demand for whale meat is also at an all-time low in Japan following the 2011 tsunami.
There has been an outcry and actions taken against Iceland in the recent past for its renegade whaling program. In December 2010 a petition was filed under the Pelly Amendment to the Fisherman’s Protective Act urging the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior to certify and enact sanctions against Iceland. Then in September 2011President Obama enacted diplomatic sanctions against Iceland. He found that “Iceland's actions threaten the conservation status of an endangered species and undermine multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales."
VIDEO Pierce Brosnan Speaks Out Against Iceland's Illegal Whaling