PHOTOS: Iceland catches endangered whales for commercial export to Japan

by Phil Kline

June 23, 2014

A fin whale being flensed at the whale flensing station in Hvalfjordur. Iceland has caught its first two fin whales of 2014. The whales are intended for commercial export to Japan despite an international ban on trading in endangered species such as the fin whale.

© Greenpeace

Despitean international ban on trading in endangered species such as the fin whale, Iceland has caught its first two endangered fin whales of 2014. The endangered whales are intended for commercial export to Japan.

As the first of this year’s endangered fin whales are brutally harpooned and dragged lifeless to shore for processing, Iceland’s whalers continue to thumb their noses at the world, the moratorium on commercial whaling and the diplomatic sanctions imposed by the US. government. Obviously diplomatic sanctions haven’t deterred Iceland’s whalers.

It’s time for President Obama’s administration to strengthen the US sanctions to economic sanctions and ban the import of any Icelandic products that come from companies involved in their fin whaling.


All of the meat from these recently killed whales is headed for the freezer and they might be there for a very long time as their only market is Japan where the market for whale meat has collapsed. Few people in Japan even eat whale meat and it’s reported that there is already several years worth of whale meat already stockpiled in freezers.

Iceland Lands First Two Fin Whales of 2014The senseless slaughter of endangered fin whales for a market that doesn’t want or need the meat can only continue to diminish the reputation of Iceland in the eyes of the world. Iceland has developed a viable and profitable whale watching industry with the potential to draw even more tourists to Iceland making whales worth more alive than dead. Whale watching is surely a better choice for Iceland, being good for both Iceland’s economy and it’s global reputation.


Phil Kline

By Phil Kline

Phil is a senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA. He is a recognized expert on oceans policy domestically and internationally, and has represented Greenpeace U.S. at International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meetings around the globe.

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