Thirty-Five Governments Call on Iceland to Stop Whaling and End Trade in Fin and Minke Whales

LONDON—A formal diplomatic protest, known as a démarche, was today delivered to the Icelandic government in Reykjavik.

The top-level protest registered countries’ “strong opposition” to Iceland’s continued whaling, particularly of endangered fin whales.

The démarche also objects to Iceland's international trade in whale products, stating: “Fin whales and minke whales are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I … and we remain extremely concerned with Iceland’s reservation, entered in 2000, for these and other cetacean species.”

The demarche was signed by the 28 EU Member States, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, and New Zealand. In addition, Monaco associated with the statement.

The 35 countries called on Iceland to “respect the IWC’s global moratorium and end its commercial whaling and international trade in whale products.”

Clare Perry, senior campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), said: “Since 2006, Iceland’s whaling company, Hvalur, has killed more than 500 endangered fin whales, purely to cash in on a limited demand in Japan. This démarche highlights Iceland’s flagrant disregard for international efforts to conserve whales. We congratulate those countries that have initiated this protest and urge them and other countries to take further diplomatic efforts to bring an end to Iceland’s commercial whale slaughter.”

Susan Millward, executive director of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), said: “We welcome the fact that so many governments have acted to put Iceland on notice that its whaling is unacceptable to the world community. AWI urges Iceland to respect the call made in this diplomatic protest and to bring an end to both its whale hunts and trade in whale products, to stem the damage already done to both its reputation and economy."

Chris Butler-Stroud, chief executive officer of WDC—Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said: “We join the signatories of the démarche in urging Iceland to come in from the cold and join the international community in creating a world where whales are safe from this outdated practice. At a time when Icelandic parliamentarians are questioning the negative effect that whaling is having on Iceland's international standing, we urge Iceland to abandon this unnecessary slaughter and instead support its profitable and growing whale watch industry, which brings considerable economic and social benefits to the country.”

Last week, the three organizations jointly released Slayed in Iceland,a new report outlining the connections between Iceland’s fin whale hunt and Iceland’s leading seafood company, HB Grandi.

The report strongly urged the IWC, governments and businesses dealing with Icelandic companies linked to whaling to take action to compel Iceland to cease commercial whaling and trade.

Interviews, images and footage are available upon request; please contact:

Clare Perry, EIA, via clareperry@eia-international.org or +34 664348821
Susan Millward, AWI, via susan@awionline.org or +1 202 640 9606
Danny Groves, WDC via +44 (0) 7834 498277 or Vanessa Williams-Grey via vanessa.williams-grey@whales.org or +44 (0)7949 530814

EDITORS’ NOTES

1. The full text / summary of the demarche is available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-529_en.htm

2. Read and download Slayed in Iceland at http://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/Slayed-in-Iceland-FINAL.pdf

3. HB Grandi is Iceland’s largest fishing and seafood export company, controlling nearly 11 percent of the country’s fishing quotas. In light of HB Grandi’s role in promoting Icelandic whaling, non-governmental organizations have been working with fish wholesalers and retailers to ensure they are not sourcing fish from HB Grandi.

4.  A new pollcommissioned by AWI, EIA, HSI, IFAW, OceanCare, Pro Wildlife and WDC, conducted by ORC International, indicates overwhelming public opposition in Germany and the United Kingdom to Iceland’s resumption of commercial whaling, with 9 out of 10 people in both countries stating they disagree with Iceland’s decision to resume whaling.

5. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington, DC-based non-governmental organizationthat investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals. www.eia-international.org

6. The Animal Welfare Institute is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home and in the wild. www.awionline.org

7. WDC—Whale and Dolphin Conservation is the leading global charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins, defending them against the many threats they face through campaigns, lobbying, advising governments, conservation projects, field research and rescue. Its vision is a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free. whales.org.