Greenpeace activists protest transport of fin whale meat

Container ship bringing cargo from Iceland to the port of Hamburg - onward to Japan

Press release - 5 July, 2013
Hamburg, July 5, 2013 - Greenpeace activists protested at noon today in front of the 336 meter long cargo ship, COSCO Pride which is transporting fin whale meat to Japan.

Ten activists in inflatable boats met the ship in the port of Hamburg Cosco with the banner message: "Stop the trade in whale meat".

"Iceland's whalers have already slaughtered 20-25 endangered fin whales this season, despite the international ban on whaling,” said Jörg Feddern, marine expert at Greenpeace. The independent environmental organisation has informed the appropriate authorities. "The Federal Government must take responsibility for protecting whales seriously, and ensure that German ports are not used under any circumstances as a transfer point for whale meat," he said.

The trade in whale meat is prohibited by the "Washington Convention" which 180 states, including Germany, committed to. Only Iceland, Norway and Japan oppose the prohibition.

"It is absurd that the international community is not able to consistently implement the decisions for the protection of the fin whale," said Feddern. "Germany’s environment Minister Peter Altmaier is responsible for the protection of the species and should ensure that no whale meat is transferred via Hamburg or any other German port," he said. "In the long term, Germany must send a strong signal against Icelandic whaling and prohibit the transport of whale meat via German ports."

Japan also hunts whales under the guise of science, although the sales figures for whale meat are in decline [1]. Unsellable meat from the last fishing season is still being stored there. According to media reports, some of it is processed into dog food.

Worldwide resistance against Icelandic whaling

Germany should learn a lesson from the Netherlands. The neighboring country has already undertaken its responsibility for the protection of whales. After protests from sea conservationists, and at the request of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Port of Rotterdam Authority has asked the shipping companies to stop the transport of whale meat through their ports [2]. Nevertheless, a stronger commitment by the government is also required there. International transport companies such as Maersk and Hapag Lloyd have already boycott the transportation of whale meat..

Fin whales are the second largest mammals on earth. They are up to 27 meters long and weigh between 40 and 70 tons. Iceland's whaling company Hvalurhv insist on whaling for ‘traditional’ reasons. Resistance comes from companies and also for economic reasons: The Icelandic Tourist Board relies on the peaceful whale watching and has asked the Icelandic Fisheries Minister to withdraw the fishing permit from Hvalurhv. This seasons’ Icelandic whale hunt began on 17th June 2013. They have returned already with the first catch of killed fin whales [3].

[1] http://blog.greenpeace.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Screenshot-Tabelle-Walfleischmarkt1.jpg

[2] http://www.portofrotterdam.com/nl/actueel/pers-en-nieuwsberichten/Pages/geen-doorvoer-walvisvlees-via-haven-rotterdam.aspx

[3] http://youtu.be/3lpnmIHwhPU

 



Note to editors, please direct your queries to:

Marine Expert, Jörg Feddern, +49 (0)171-8781 191

Press Spokeswoman, Michelle Bayona, +49 (0)171-8780 830

Photo material: John Novis, +31 (0) 20 718 2058

Video material: Maarten van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal, +31 (0) 20 718 2208

For photos of the event please see here:
http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox&STID=27MZIFVH2KJ0&CT=Story

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