Greenpeace blocks transport of whale meat in Rotterdam port

Press release - 2 April, 2010
Greenpeace activists have chained themselves to the mooring ropes of a ship carrying an illicit cargo of whale meat to prevent it leaving the port of Rotterdam bound for Japan. The meat, from 13 endangered fin whales, is being stored in seven containers onboard the container ship NYK ORION, and is in transit from Iceland. Greenpeace is calling on the authorities to seize the containers.

"The Netherlands has to be clear about its position. Does it want tohave a hand in the transit of illicit whale meat?" asks Pavel Klinckhamers, Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

"We want to send a clear message. If the Netherlands is involved in whale trade, it is jointly responsible for the unacceptable downfall of this endangered species."

The fin whale can grow to 27 meters in length and is the second largest whale, less than 50.000 are estimated to remain in the North Atlantic. The international trade in fin whales and other whales is banned under CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. The Netherlands is one of the 175 signatories to this treaty. Japan and Iceland refuse to comply with CITES and continue to trade in whale meat.

This June, nations gathering at the International Whaling Committee(IWC) will decide the future of the whales. Instead of guaranteeing the fin and other whales long-term protection, the IWC may overturn its moratorium on commercial whaling, legitimizing whaling nations' hunts.

"The Netherlands must confiscate this shipment and set an example toother countries who want to protect the whales and not the whalers," continued Klinckhamers. "Action speaks louder than words."

On Monday, the Icelandic government released the findings of a study[1] into the economic viability of whaling, which supports ongoing whaling based on logic that less whales will mean higher quotas for commercial fisheries. In doing so, the Icelandic government is undermining its credibility as a nation with relatively responsible fisheries management.

The report does recommend reassessing the decision to continue whaling should it have negative impacts on the nation's image. Greenpeace is working to stop Iceland's illicit whale trade and change the Icelandic government's position.

Two Greenpeace activists are currently on trial in Japan for acting to expose major corruption in the Japanese government funded whaling programme. Greenpeace believes that Japan should not be rewarded for decades of reprehensible behaviour at the IWC and in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Instead, the Commission should demand that the Japanese government reopen the official investigation into theGreenpeace allegations.[2]

VVPR info: Arja Helmig, Greenpeace Netherlands Press Officer, +31 6 2503 1012 Pavel Klinckhamers, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, +31 6 2900 1153 Steve Smith, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 6 4378 7359

Notes: 1) The Icelandic government report can be found here: and an English translation is available upon request. 2) For more information about Greenpeace’s efforts to expose the corruption behind Japanese whaling and the resulting legal case in Japan, visit