Urge President Obama to Impose Trade Sanctions on Icelandic Whaling Companies

Date: 
Monday, June 17, 2013
One of the recent whales caught and killed by Hvalur - © Jonny Zwick Photography

UPDATE: Despite pressure from individuals and groups for tough action, the president, while stating in September 2011 that Iceland’s “actions threaten the conservation status of an endangered species and undermine multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales” only directed cabinet secretaries and heads of government agencies to implement a series of diplomatic measures to persuade Iceland to cease its commercial whaling activities. Unfortunately, the presidential directives had little effect and Iceland resumed its hunt of endangered fin whales in 2013 after a two year pause, killing 134.” On February 6, 2014, Secretary of Interior Jewell formally declared that Iceland is undermining an international wildlife conservation treaty with its commercial whale hunts and trade in whale products. Please write to President Obama to urge him to take a tough stance by imposing trade sanctions against companies tied to Icelandic whaling.
 



Dear Humanitarian,

Iceland, which already kills minke whales for profit, has resumed hunting endangered fin whales as well. Please join us in asking President Obama to impose trade sanctions on Icelandic whaling companies.

Since Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2003—in defiance of an international ban—its whalers have killed 496 minke whales and over 280 endangered fin whales, and exported over 2,800 metric tons of whale products to Japan. Although Iceland did not hunt fin whales in 2011 and 2012, Kristján Loftsson—head of the Hvalur whaling company and chairman of the board of HB Grandi, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies—announced plans to kill as many as 184 fin whales this summer, starting in early June. The hunt will produce thousands of tons of whale meat and blubber. Most will be shipped to Japan, where AWI recently found whale meat on sale as dog treats.

A powerful U.S. law called the “Pelly Amendment to the Fisherman’s Protective Act” authorizes the president to prohibit the importation of products from countries that allow fishing operations that are determined by the secretary of commerce to diminish the effectiveness of an international fishery conservation program. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) treaty is such a program.

In response to a 2010 petition from AWI and other groups, the secretary of commerce certified to the president that Iceland was indeed undermining the IWC treaty by its continued whaling. President Obama responded in September 2011 by rebuking Iceland, saying that its “actions threaten the conservation status of an endangered species and undermine multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales. At that time, the president issued a series of directives to cabinet secretaries and heads of government agencies to take steps aimed at compelling Iceland to cease its commercial whaling activities.

What You Can Do:
With the resumptiopn of fin whaling, the president’s previous efforts have clearly not had the desired effect. Please write to President Obama and urge him to take a tougher stance by issuing trade sanctions against Icelandic whaling companies until Iceland abandons its commercial whaling program. Please send a letter through the Compassion Index by clicking here. You will find suggested talking points to include in your letter once you click through to the Compassion Index.

Please be sure to share our “Dear Humanitarian” eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to write, too.

As always, thank you very much for your help!

Sincerely,

Susan Millward
Executive Director

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