Canada says it can't stop the trade, even though it signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which in 1981 gave fin and other endangered whales the highest level of protection against commercial trade.
Iceland, Japan and Norway also signed but did not agree to the 1981 listing, which means they're legally permitted to trade in whalemeat and even to use Canada for trans-shipping.
Environment Canada spokeswoman Jirina Vlk: "When two countries do so, like Iceland and Japan have for fin whale, Canada has to allow shipments under customs control to transit, provided they meet normal documentation and other requirements. CITES provides an exemption for shipments of CITES species in-transit through a country, as long as the shipment remains in customs control, that is, in bond or under seal."
News of Canada's complicitness has stunned Greenpeace. It received a tip-off about Iceland shipping 12 containers of whale meat to Halifax: the containers were then railed across Canada to Vancouver to be trans-shipped to Japan. Greenpeace is shocked that the containers not only arrived in a Canadian port but were cleared to be shipped across the country: "By allowing (this) transit, Canada is an accomplice...(it) must prohibit the transport of whalemeat through Canadian ports."
USA has protested Canada's actions, saying they're undermining global conservation efforts. Canada's Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has refused to comment.
Jirina Vlk confirmed that Environment Canada inspected the shipment and then sent it on its way, because it lacked authority to do anything else. She also claims this is the first time Canada's been involved in the trans-shipment of whalemeat.
So that's makes it ok, does it???
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