Over 2,500 Tons Of Whale Meat Are En Route To Japan From Iceland; 1,139 Fin Whales Have Been Killed For Their Meat To Date

According to news sources in Iceland, Kristjan Loftsson, who is the last whaler in Iceland, is currently shipping 2,576 tons of whale meat to Japan.

This has raised questions about the involvement of Samskip – one of the larger European transport companies – in the international shipment of whale meat. While Samskip has failed to confirm or deny its involvement, port authorities and other Icelandic sources have confirmed that the shipping company was involved in loading the whale meat on a vessel. This would be a violation of Samskip’s 2013 public promise that it would not transport whale meat in the future.

“Kristjan Loftsson is Iceland’s last whaler. He is hell-bent on harpooning endangered whales and resuscitating the international trade in whale meat. That is bad enough. What is surprising here is that Samskip, in violation of its own public commitment, would be facilitating the transaction,” said Patrick Ramage, IFAW’s Senior Director of Outreach and Program Collaboration. “Mr. Loftsson’s whaling is bad for whales, bad for Iceland, and bad for marine conservation efforts worldwide. We call on Samskip to immediately clarify its involvement and to renew its earlier public commitment not to support the trade in whale meat.”

In 2013, Samskip issued a statement announcing: “For the sake of avoiding any misunderstanding, Samskip confirms that it does not plan to ship whale meat in the future.” The company added that it “would not undertake further shipments of whale meat.”

The statement was issued after a shipment of whale meat en route to Japan from Iceland was met with heavy criticism in Europe. The 2013 shipment was ultimately returned to Iceland after the Ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg requested whale meat to not be transported through their harbors. Loftsson’s commercial whaling company, Hvalur hf killed 148 endangered fin whales in 2022. Three of the whales could not be landed and were lost at sea.

The whalers of Hvalur hf resumed fin whaling in 2009 and have killed 1,139 fin whales to date. The company did not hunt fin whales, the second largest mammal on earth in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Iceland has issued five-year quotas for whaling fin whales, the current quota will expire by the end of 2023.

IFAW opposes all commercial whaling as it is inherently cruel; there is no humane way to kill a whale.

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