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Victory: A critical step in ending whaling in Iceland

Jul 25, 2011

The U.S. government threatens Iceland with sanctions and urges the country to end its defiant whaling program

Thanks to the nearly 17,000 WSPA supporters who urged the U.S. government to take action to end Iceland’s whaling program, the U.S. has threatened Iceland with trade sanctions over its commercial whaling activities.

Contact President Obama today and urge him to protect whales and enforce sanctions on Iceland.

"Modern" whaling methods, such as those used by Iceland's whalers, raise serious animal welfare concerns because it is impossible to humanely kill a whale at sea. The slaughter of whales is inhumane, unnecessary and unsustainable – and it needs to end.

In 2010 alone, 148 endangered fin whales and 60 minke whales were slaughtered by Icelandic whalers and more than 750 tons of whale meat and products were exported to Japan – despite global treaties and bans. In March 2011, nearly 290 tons of whale meat were exported, the largest single shipment to Japan since Iceland resumed whaling.

Time and time again, Iceland has clearly undermined the global conservation efforts that are meant to protect whales,” said Karen Vale, U.S. Programs Jr. Manager at WSPA USA. “We are thrilled that the U.S. government is taking a stand against this type of behavior, and hope that President Obama takes the next step by imposing these sanctions.”

Progress in the fight to end whaling

According to a domestic law known as the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act (referred to simply as the Pelly Amendment),  the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior can formally identify – or “certify” – a country if it is “diminishing the effectiveness” of global conservation treaties, such as the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) ban on whaling. Once certified, the President can impose sanctions.

This week, after months of pressure from WSPA and other groups, the U.S. Department of Commerce formally announced the certification of Iceland and sent a letter to President Obama recommending several actions.

The President now has 60 days to decide whether or not to impose any or all of the sanctions and recommendations put forth in the Department of Commerce’s certification letter.

Please contact President Obama today and urge him to protect whales and enforce sanctions on Iceland.

WSPA will be watching this issue closely during the next two months – please continue to follow for more updates!


Image credited to Bryant Austin/

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