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New fin whale export by unrepentant Iceland

Yahoo! urged to stop selling the meat of endangered whales

 

LONDON: The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) today confirmed that a further 131 tonnes of Icelandic fin whale has been shipped to Japan and renewed its call for global retailer Yahoo! to immediately prohibit the sale of the endangered species via Yahoo! Japan.

The latest shipment brings the total of fin whale exported to Japan since Iceland resumed commercial whaling to more than 1,500 tonnes, despite the CITES Appendix 1 listing of fin whales clearly prohibiting international trade.

In July, the EIA report Renegade Whaling identified Icelandic company Hvalur and its multi-millionaire boss Kristján Loftsson as hunting fin whales for export to Japan via a company he helped to set up.

But despite Iceland being certified under the US Pelly Amendment later that same month, it has now been confirmed that in August a new export to Japan took place of 131 tonnes of fin whale product with an estimated value of 209 million Icelandic króna ($1.7 million).

On September 15, US President Barack Obama stated that Iceland’s whaling and trade in the meat threatens the conservation status of an endangered species and undermines multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales. Stopping short of targeted trade sanctions, he nevertheless announced diplomatic measures aiming to push Iceland to halt the trade.

Yahoo Japan! sells numerous Icelandic fin whale products, including large (1.5kg) blocks of meat, bacon (blubber) and canned products. As of September 2011, these products and many more were still available on the internet from Yahoo! Japan shopping sites; a survey by EIA found 10 different retailers offering Icelandic fin whale meat products for sale via Yahoo! Japan.

“At a time when the US Government is applying international pressure to force an end to Iceland’s whaling and international trade, Yahoo! Japan is effectively encouraging further hunting of the species by selling endangered fin whale meat products on its website,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry.

“It’s long past due that Yahoo! put its house in order and stopped profiting from, and stimulating, this bloody and wholly unnecessary slaughter.”

EIA first called on Yahoo! Japan in April 2010 to ban all sales of whale, dolphin and porpoise products on its store and auction websites after discovering that many products contained high levels of the neurotoxin mercury.

 

Interviews are available on request: please contact Clare Perry via clareperry@eia-international.org or telephone +44 (0) 20 7354 7960.

 

EDITORS’ NOTES

1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK-based Non Governmental Organisation and charitable trust (registered charity number 1040615) that 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.

2. The diplomatic measures announced by President Obama on September 15 are:
• relevant US delegations attending meetings with Icelandic officials and senior Administration officials visiting Iceland will raise US concerns regarding commercial whaling by Icelandic companies and seek ways to halt such action;
• Cabinet secretaries will evaluate the appropriateness of visits to Iceland, depending on continuation of the current suspension of fin whaling;
•  the Department of State will examine Arctic cooperation projects and, where appropriate, link US cooperation to the Icelandic Government changing its whaling policy and abiding by the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling;
• the Departments of Commerce and State will consult with other international actors on efforts to end Icelandic commercial whaling and have Iceland abide by the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling;
• the Department of State will inform the Government of Iceland that the US will continue to monitor the activities of Icelandic companies that engage in commercial whaling;
• relevant US agencies will continue to examine other options for responding to continued whaling by Iceland.

3. Read EIA’s Renegade Whaling report here.

 

Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
UK
www.eia-international.org
Tel: +44 207 354 7960
Fax: +44 207 354 7961

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