Icelandic Whaling

Icelandic whaling: condemned by the United States and hopefully on the decline

Iceland continues to hunt whales in flagrant violation of the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling established by the International Whaling Commission.
 
However, Icelandic whaler Kristjian Loftsson announced recently that he will not hunt fin whales in 2012. He cited a depressed market in Japan for whale meat following the 2011 tsunami and a failure to reach an agreement with the Association of Icelandic Fishermen on salaries and conditions for deckhands. Loftsson had killed 280 fin whales off the coast of Iceland during the past six years. He was the only whaler in Iceland killing fin whales. 
 
Unfortunately, Iceland continues to hunt minke whales on a commercial basis. 58 minke whales were killed in 2011 in Iceland. Minke whales have already been slaughtered during the 2012 season. 
 
This hunt continues in the face of U.S. diplomatic action against Iceland for its continued slaughter of whales, stating that Iceland’s disregard for the global ban on commercial whaling is “unacceptable.”  On September 16, 2011, President Barack Obama announced  the  diplomatic measures that the United States would take against Iceland in condemnation of its whaling activities. The measures included a directive to the State Department to stop participating in programs where Icelend and the U.S. routinely cooperate, such as those in the Arctic. In addition, U.S. delegations could be forced to raise the issue of whaling when meeting with officials from Iceland or to evaluate the appropriateness of future visits to Iceland.
 
President Obama’s announcement followed the actions of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in mid-July of 2011. Locke had invoked the Pelly Amendment and certified Iceland for its continued slaughter of both fin and minke whales, in disregard for the global ban on commercial whaling.