Iceland's whaling season is in full swing, with 100 (and counting) endangered fin whales slaughtered in violation of the International Whaling Commission's moratorium against commercial whaling.
Bur for the first time, Iceland is using the Arctic to ship whale meat and products to Japan.
In connection with President Obama's visit to Alaska this week and the U.S. State Department-sponsored GLACIER conference (which invites foreign ministers and high-level leaders from Arctic nations as well as countries and intergovernmental bodies with strong interests in the Arctic--including Iceland--to address the most urgent issues facing the Arctic today), NRDC, Animal Welfare Institute, Environmental Investigation Agency and others are urging GLACIER delegates to ensure that Arctic waters are not open for Iceland's commercial shipment of whale products to Japan.
To get their attention, we're running this ad in the Alaska Dispatch News:
Operating in the red and faced with strong international opposition, Iceland's fin whaling company (Hvalar) is desperately trying to revive its whaling industry by sending whale meat and products to Japan in violation of both the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) moratorium against commercial whaling and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But due to intense international opposition and local protests, many of the world's ports are denying access to Iceland's shipments. For instance, South Africa and Rotterdam have both closed their ports to Iceland's shipments of whale meat.
Commercial whaling is a dying industry. Consumption of whale meat in Japan has fallen sharply in recent years while polls indicate that few Icelanders regularly eat the meat.
Which is why it's critical that GLACIER delegates avoid throwing a lifeline to Iceland's commercial whaling industry. As the Arctic opens up for business, GLACIER delegates must ensure they don't help revive commercial whaling by making it easier for Iceland to transport endangered whale products to Japan through Arctic waters.