Friday, May 20, 2011

Earthquake Hits Iceland

Iceland is feeling aftershocks from the Japanese earthquake.
It’s 2011 whale hunt's been postponed indefinitely, with workers at the Hvalur whaling company laid off. Two of the Nippon processing companies with which Hvalur works sustained major EQ damage. The market's also collapsed, and Hvalur admits it’s not feasible to hunt in the foreseeable future. Whether to go ahead in Aug/Sept will be decided later this northern summer (last year the fin season started on June 26th).
Iceland’s whale sales to Japan've struggled since exports began in 2008, and have fallen short of target profits. Quality problems with Icelandic whale meat, and falling appetite among Japanese consumers have meant Icelandic fin meat prices were set at low rates, to try and build demand. Curiously Japan kept importing whale meat, despite its own growing stockpile.
In 2007, Iceland declared an end to commercial whaling, only to come back with a vengeance in 2009. Over the past two years, Hvalur has killed 273 endangered fin (despite govt.denials). The 2011 quota was 154 fin and 200 minke: so far this year just four minke have been caught.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) began a huge consumer campaign against Iceland in 2010. A significant number of retailers and supermarkets have joined the campaign, which has spread from the UK to the US and Europe. Among the supporters is lead UK seafood supplier Findus, which agreed to mark the Hvalur-linked Icelandic seafood company HB Grandi as unacceptable across its supply chain. WDCS is also urging the US Administration to impose sanctions on Iceland for its whaling and trade in whale products in defiance of IWC and CITES bans.
Economic pain is one of the few ways to drive home the message that commercial whaling is unacceptable to the world at large, and must cease.

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