Iceland to ship whale meat to Japan

The Guardian reports, 19th May 2015: The Icelandic whaling company Hvalur HF plans to ship 1,700 tonnes of whale meat via Luanda in Angola, repeating a similar controversial delivery of 2,000 tonnes last year which sparked protests along its route.

According to Icelandic daily newspaper Eyjan, the meat was loaded aboard a ship near the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik two weeks ago — but mechanical failure has delayed the vessel’s departure.

Kristjan Loftsson, chief executive of Hvalur HF, said the pending shipment was “not illegal”.

“Iceland made a reservation on the ban so it is not bound by it,” he said.

Iceland and Norway are the only nations which openly defy the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC’s) 1986 ban on hunting whales.

Icelandic whalers caught 137 fin whales and 24 minkes in 2014, according to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), an anti-whaling group — compared with 134 fin whales and 35 minkes in 2013.

Japan has used a legal loophole in the ban that allows it to continue hunting the animals in order to gather scientific data. But it has never made a secret of the fact that the whale meat from these hunts often ends up on dining tables.

Consumption of whale meat in Japan has fallen sharply in recent years while polls indicate that few Icelanders regularly eat it.

In September the EU, the US and several other countries issued a statement calling on Iceland to halt commercial whaling, particularly of fin whales.

Source: The Guardian, 19th May 2015. For the full text, see www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/19/icelandic-plan-to-ship-whale-meat-to-japan-enrages-environmentalists


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