An endangered Fin Whale, harpooned yesterday is brought to the harbor of Hvalfjörour, Iceland. The Fin whale is the first kill by Iceland and marks the resumption to commercial whaling for the country.
The demarche condemns the decision to resume commercial whaling,
andthe unilateral way it was carried out,saying:
"Similarly, Iceland has set its quota usingcriteria that have not been presented to or reviewed and approved bythe International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) Scientific Committee.
Itdeeply concerns us that the Icelandic Government awards itself a quotathat has not been approved according to the applicable internationalprovisions, before any possible effects on whale populations have beenproperly assessed and peer reviewed by those bodies recognised ascompetent to manage whale resources."
The demarchealso brings up the fact that fin whales are
classified as 'Endangered'on the IUCN Red List of Threatened
Species, and that the trade in finwhales is prohibited under the
Convention on International Trade inEndangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Iceland has started a "review" of theCITES listing, but its
government is apparently not willing to evenwait for their own
scientists to weigh in before it starts stock pilingfin whale
Icelandic Pledge now to help endwhaling.
Full text ofthe demarche:
JOINT DEMARCHE BY ARGENTINA,AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, BRAZIL,
CHILE, THE CZECHREPUBLIC, THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION, FINLAND,
FRANCE, GERMANY, IRELAND,ISRAEL, ITALY, LUXEMBOURG, MEXICO, MONACO,
THE NETHERLANDS, NEWZEALAND, PERU, PORTUGAL, THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC,
SPAIN, SWEDEN, THE UNITEDKINGDOM, and THE UNITED STATES OF
We, theGovernments of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium,
Brazil, Chile,The Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany,
Ireland, Israel, Italy,Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, The Netherlands,
New Zealand, Peru,Portugal, The Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, The
United Kingdom andThe United States of America, together with The
European Commission areextremely disappointed that the Icelandic
Government has decided toresume commercial whaling in Icelandic
waters, in spite of theinternationally agreed moratorium.
Furthermore, weare very concerned that Iceland is considering
the taking of nine finwhales, which have been classified as
'Endangered' on the IUCN Red Listof Threatened Species, and are
listed under CITES Appendix I, togetherwith thirty common minke
whales. We do not agree with this proposedaction, adding as it does
to the current catches of common minke whalesunder the research
plan, which Iceland has been implementing since2003.
At the 22nd Animals Committee meeting of CITES- the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of WildFauna and Flora
- which took place in Peru, only last July, Iceland'sproposed
inclusion of the central stock of North Atlantic fin whales inthe
periodic review was agreed. Nevertheless, the Icelandic Ministry
ofFisheries has now set its own catch limits, without awaiting
theoutcome of this review.
Similarly, Iceland has setits quota using criteria that have not
been presented to or reviewedand approved by the International
Whaling Commission's (IWC) ScientificCommittee. It deeply concerns
us that the Icelandic Government awardsitself a quota that has not
been approved according to the applicableinternational provisions,
before any possible effects on whalepopulations have been properly
assessed and peer reviewed by thosebodies recognised as competent
to manage whaleresources.
We would wish to point to the significanteconomic and social
benefits which accrue to Iceland arising from itsgrowing
whale-watching industry and express the view that the decisionto
commence commercial whaling could seriously undermine
thosebenefits. We are of the opinion that the decision to
commencecommercial whaling sends a wrong signal with regard to
Iceland'sgrowing whale watching industry.
We call uponIceland to respect the moratorium and halt its
commercial whalingoperations. We believe that commercial whaling
quotas determined andprosecuted in the absence of any agreed
management system underminesthe proper functioning of the IWC.
We repeat ourcountries' opposition to this operation and urge
the Government ofIceland to reconsider its position and reverse
this unnecessarydecision, and to abandon its current operations. We
remind Iceland that19 countries registered a formal objection with
the United StatesGovernment (as the depository country for the
instrument of adherenceto the International Convention for the
Regulation of Whaling) toIceland's Reservation on commercial
whaling when they rejoined the IWCin 2002.