The Japanese Ministry of Commerce has finally issued an import permit for 65 tons of whale meat, 60 tons of fin whale meat from Iceland and five tons of minke whale meat from Norway, which has been stored in freezers in Japan since June.
The Icelandic whale meat is from seven fin whales that were killed in fall 2006, after Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson issued a controversial quota of nine fin whales, Fréttabladid reports.
Although Iceland exported the fin whale meat to Japan in June, importers had to wait for almost six months for a custom clearance. Iceland was subject to harsh criticism for hunting fin whales, with one of the arguments against whale hunting being that there was no market for the meat.
Minister Gudfinnsson described the Japanese customs clearance a breakthrough in the whaling discussion. “Those who are against whaling have always said it is pointless because the products cannot be sold. I have always said that isn’t so and that turned out to be true.”
Gudfinnsson added that he has always wanted whaling to become a “real” profession in Iceland. “It would be a good addition to our economy and we could really need that right now. It would create many jobs and bring foreign currency into the country. It is an opportunity that we are bound to consider.”
Gudfinnsson does not believe that whaling will have a negative impact on Iceland’s image, although it is certainly under a lot of pressure right now. “Sustainable hunting cannot harm the image of Iceland.”