According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), 11 governments, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Peru and the USA, have issued a statement against Iceland’s commercial whaling and escalating trade in whale products.
Whaling in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The governments delivered the letter yesterday to Iceland’s representative in the United States, Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson, a WDCS press release states.
Urdur Gunnarsdóttir, press officer at the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the letter had been delivered to Ambassador Hannesson, although only nine government representatives had been in attendance.
Hannesson used the opportunity to explain Iceland’s position on commercial whaling, which is the sustainable harnessing of marine products.
In the demarche—an official diplomatic protest—the countries called on Iceland to “seriously consider the benefits of eliminating commercial whaling and return to its previous position of acceptance of the moratorium on commercial whaling that was put in place by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.”
There has been a rapid increase in recent years both in the numbers of whales Iceland has killed and the amount of whale products exported.
A total of 273 fin whales, a species listed as endangered, have been killed in Iceland in the past two years, as compared to seven fin whales killed in the previous 20 years, while 141 minke whales were killed by Icelandic whalers in 2009 and 2010, WDCS states.
In November, the US Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, had called on Iceland to stop its whaling and international trade in whale products in a strongly-worded message to the country’s Minister of Fisheries, Jón Bjarnason, and WDCS welcomes the fact that the US is reaching out to other countries to join in the effort to shut down whaling in Iceland.
In late December, WDCS, on behalf of a coalition of 19 conservation and animal welfare groups (representing tens of millions of US citizens), filed a formal request with the US Secretaries of Commerce and Interior, asking them to take trade actions against Iceland for its escalating defiance of international agreements on commercial whaling.
WDCS will continue to urge the US government to take the strongest possible action against Iceland for its defiance of international conservation regimes, the press release concludes.
Click here to read more about WDCS’s efforts to stop whaling in Iceland.