Shipments of whale products through its ports brings UK and EU anti-whaling stance into question
WDC’s is calling on the UK and other EU governments to ban shipments of whale meat and products through it ports.
Both the UK and EU do not support commercial whale hunting, which is also subject to an international ban. However, despite the fact that whale cargos do not officially enter the EU market, WDC believes that by allowing such shipments to transfer through its ports, the EU is assisitng a trade which includes the slaughter of endangered species protected by multiple EU laws.
The ports of Southampton, Rotterdam and Hamburg have all allowed vessels carrying whale meat from Norway, Japan or Iceland to dock.
On February 16, 2013, 4,250 kg of frozen whale belly meat, blubber, tails and fins left Ålesund, Norway on board the vessel ECL Commander. The cargo was transferred in Rotterdam to the NYK Olympus and departed on February 27th, bound for Japan via Southampton*. And, in late June 2013, WDC helped to expose a shipment of 130 tonnes of Icelandic fin whale meat bound for Japan via Rotterdam, that then sailed on to Hamburg, Germany. A further controversy surrounding paperwork prompted German customs officials to impound the shipment. It was eventually released but the negative publicity persuaded the two shipping companies involved (Evergreen Line, and Samskip) to return the whale meat to Iceland and both companies committed not to carry whale meat again.
WDC anti-whaling campaigner, Vanessa Williams-Grey said: “Shipping whale meat across the globe without stopping at EU ports is very expensive for the whalers. Transporting it by air is even more costly. As a member of the EU, which is against trade in whale products, how can countries like the UK and Germany allow ships like these to dock in their ports and so facilitate and profit from trade in whale meat?’
WDC has written to the EU to raise concerns about Iceland, Norway and Japan shipping whale products via EU ports. These whaling countries are not EU members and they refuse to be bound by regulations governing international trade in endangered whale species such as fin whales. WDC believes that since the EU prohibits international trade in whale products, that no exception should be made for non-EU countries to abuse its ports by transiting prohibited products.
Support out campaign to stop these shipments passing through EU port.
*information courtesy of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI)