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US urges Iceland to end commercial whaling

The US has applied more pressure on the Icelandic government regarding whaling. A statement to Icelandic press from the US embassy in Reykjavik said that the United States supports the International Whaling Commission (IWC) ban on commercial whaling and that Iceland now has the chance to show it is a leader in issues of marine conservation by opposing commercial whaling and trade in whale products.

The comments come just days after Kristjan Loftsson, Iceland’s sole fin whaler, announced that his company, Hvalur hf, won’t be killing endangered fin whales off Iceland this summer.

The statement from the embassy’s spokesperson also refers to the ‘economic, social and cultural benefits’ of whale-watching as an alternative industry to whale-hunting, and goes on to say that the US hopes that the Icelandic government will seriously consider putting an end to commercial whaling.

WDC has campaigned against commercial whaling of both fin and minke whales in Iceland, and the transit of fin whale meat to Japan. Since 2006, over 7,300 tonnes of fin whale meat and blubber has been exported to Japan, and from 2013, protests by WDC forced Loftsson to abandon his preferred route via EU ports and the Suez canal.