Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ice, Ice, Baby...

Confirmation that more than 1,500 metric tons of endangered Icelandic fin whale meat were shipped to Japan in July 2016!
death-carrier Winter Bay
The discovery comes just prior to the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which starts in South Africa today.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), OceanCare, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Pro Wildlife, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) tracked the transport vessel Winter Bay from Iceland, through Russia's Northern Sea Route and on to Japan, suspecting it was carrying whale products from the Hvalur whaling company. The shipment arrived in Osaka on 09 Sept.
As blogged here, Winter Bay shipped over 1,800 metric tons of fin whale products from Iceland to Japan via the same route in 2015.
Whaling vessel Hvalur 9
Hvalur and its director, Kristj√°n Loftsson, are emptying their warehouse of fin whale products, presumably to resume their killing in 2017.
Clare Perry, head of EIA's Oceans Campaign: "There‘s no excuse for Iceland to continue to slaughter whales in violation of the 30-yr. old International Whaling Commission (IWC) commercial whaling moratorium. The international community must tell Loftsson that enough is enough: fin whaling must stop."
Iceland and Norway trade commercially in whale products, under their respective reservations to the listing of great whale species on CITES Appendix I. Since 2008, more than 9,000 metric tons of whale products have been exported by the two countries to Japan and the Faroe Islands.
On 14 Sept., a Norwegian company received an export permit from the Norwegian govt to ship up to 195 metric tons of minke whale meat to Japan. If the shipment goes ahead, it will be the largest single shipment of whale meat from Norway since the IWC moratorium took effect. And Lofothval, a Norwegian whale meat company tied to Iceland's Loftsson, also received an export permit on 15 Sept., to ship up to 4 metric tons of whale meat to Japan. Combined, these shipments equal the meat of 137 minke whales.
These export permits are deeply disturbing, as it appears the companies are whaling almost exclusively for the Japanese market.

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