More Petition Signatures Needed As Cargo Vessel In Iceland Is Loaded With Whale Meat Destined For Japan
Kristjan Loftsson, the owner of the whaling company Hvalur, which means whale in Icelandic, appears to be up to no good again as he attempts to ship hundreds of tons of two-year-old fin whale meat out of Iceland, bound for Japan.
And, he is apparently doing so under the watchful eye of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) which reported today that for more than 24 hours it had monitored dozens of boxes of whale meat being loaded on a cargo vessel despite the limited market for it and the increasing worldwide opposition to the bloody trade.
Also despite Loftsson telling Icelandic media in March of this year, that there would be no hunting of endangered fin whales by his company this summer due to the “red tape”, he must endure when trying to sell Icelandic whale meat in Japan.
Loftsson also notably suspended fin whaling following the 2011 tsunami in Japan only to resume two years later.
“With Icelanders not even eating fin whale meat, this consignment represents endangered whales killed because of one man’s attempts to revive the international whale meat trade,” said Sharon Livermore, IFAW’s Marine Conservation Programme Officer. “This latest venture is at odds with recent statements about difficulties trading the meat with Japan, which was given as the reason for no fin whaling in Iceland over the last two years.”
Loftsson’s company reportedly killed 155 endangered fin whales in 2015, primarily for the Japanese market.
“With international outcry at previous whale meat shipments and the continued growth of responsible whale watching as a far more successful industry in Iceland, we urge Mr. Loftsson and the Icelandic government to recognize that commercial whaling needs to be consigned to the history books, with whale watching being better for whales and the local economy,” concluded Livermore.
IFAW, in conjunction with Icelandic whale watching coalition Icewhale, continues to educate tourists about the realities of whaling and whale meat through the ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ campaign.
According to the organization, tourists who admit to having tasted whale meat in Iceland has decreased by more than half in recent years from 40 percent when ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ was initially launched in 2011; while the number of restaurants in downtown Reykjavik that have signed up to be ‘Whale Friendly’ with a pledge not to serve whale meat has doubled.
Though positive steps in the right direction, sadly, Minke whaling in Iceland continues, with at least 17 minke whales killed so far, this season.
Currently, IFAW and Icewhale are campaigning for Faxaflói Bay outside Reykjavik Harbour to be declared a sanctuary to better protect whales.
WAN stands with IFAW and countless other organizations that oppose all commercial whaling as it is inherently cruel since there is, in fact, no humane way to kill a whale.
People can find out more about ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ as well as sign the petition Here!