In a rare, but much appreciated, act of political courage, the United States criticized Iceland’s whaling activities, condemning them as “unsustainable.” This is a breath of fresh air to anti-whaling activists worldwide who’ve become used to whaling nations getting a pass by the world’s governments for their murderous activities. Could a criticism of Japan be next – a much more powerful nation that kills many more whales than Iceland, all under the lie of research? Risking the anger of a rich ally takes an ethical backbone. Let’s hope Uncle Sam stands up straight on this one! –Global Animal
November 25, 2010
REYKJAVIK (AFP) – The United States on Thursday warned Iceland that it was deeply concerned by its whaling activities, which threatened the sustainability of the mammal in the North Atlantic, the government said.
“The United States is deeply concerned by and strongly opposed to Iceland’s increasing commercial harvest of whales, in particular endangered fin whales,” US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said in a letter to Icelandic Fishing Minister Jon Bjarnason.
“We are concerned that Iceland conducts its fin whale harvests outside of International Whaling Commission control and at levels two or three times higher than that body’s scientific recommendations. Such whaling is simply not sustainable.”
This year Iceland has caught 148 fin whales, after catching 125 in 2009. Prior to increasing its quotas in 2008, Iceland caught less than 10 each year, the letter said.
Icelandic authorities plan to protest against the US criticism, saying there are sufficient whales in its waters to increase the quota to up to 200 each year.
There are between 20,000 and 70,000 whales in the North Atlantic, according to varying estimates.
Iceland and Norway are the only two countries in the world which commercially catch whales. Japan says its whaling is for scientific purposes, although the meat is sold commercially.