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Working to end whaling in Iceland

Iceland permits the hunting of endangered fin whales, as well as minke whales. At the centre of the fin whaling industry is Kristjan Loftsson, owner of the Hvalur whaling company and chair of HB Grandi, one of Iceland's biggest fishing companies. His determination to keep on whaling, when most other whaling nations have accepted the moratorium on commercial whaling, has led to the death of over 500 fin whales since Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2006. There is currently no local demand for fin whale meat so most of it is exported to a declining market within Japan. A smaller number of minke whales are killed for the domestic market, where demand comes largely from tourists who wrongly believe that eating whale meat is both widespread and traditional within Iceland.
Fin Whales being butchered in Iceland September 2014
Fin Whales being butchered in Iceland September 2014

Whaling in Iceland 

Whaling in modern Iceland is an anachronism, largely driven by the ambitions and stubborn pride of one man - fin whaler, Kristjan Loftsson.

What needs to happen

The nations of the world need to remind the Icelandic Government and its people that the world loathes its whaling.

  • Members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC, the body that regulates whaling) should collectively condemn Icelandic whaling and encourage Iceland to cease all commercial whaling and trade
  • IWC members who are also Parties to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) should challenge Iceland's exploitation of a loophole allowing massive commercial trade in whale meat and products
  • The European Union (EU) - and all other countries that may be used as a route for transporting whale meat and products - should close their ports to whale meat shipments, whether from Iceland or other countries
  • Airlines and shipping companies need to refuse to transport whale meat and products
  • All companies purchasing or handling Icelandic seafood products should fully audit their supply chain (including third parties and subsidiaries) to ensure they are not contributing to the profits of fishing giant, HB Grandi, due to its close links to fin whaling

Iceland whaling - fin whale killed in 2014
Iceland whaling - fin whale killed in 2014

What WDC is doing

  • WDC is campaigning to oppose Icelandic  Iceland's whalers actions at the International Whaling Commission
  • WDC is actively campaigning to make whaling unprofitable in Iceland
  • We regularly travel to Iceland and meet with decision makers and influencers
  • WDC is investigating illegal sales of whale meat and publicising or shutting down such operations when we find them

What you can do to help