FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on Iceland’s decision to resume international trade in fin whale meat, and its escalation of commercial whaling outside of the control of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Iceland killed 273 endangered fin whales in the last two years. IWC scientists fear removing more than 46 fin whales per year from the population is unsustainable. There is currently a global moratorium on commercial whaling, and a ban on international trade in fin whale meat.
“The United States strongly opposes Iceland’s defiance of the commercial whaling ban. We urge Iceland to cease international trade of whale meat and work with the international community to safeguard whale species,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “It is troubling that Iceland continues to pursue commercial whaling outside the boundaries of the IWC, without member oversight or analysis by the Commission’s scientific committee.”
Secretary Locke indicated that the U.S. is currently evaluating potential domestic responses to Iceland’s increased harvest of whales outside of IWC control.
“I am deeply disappointed in Iceland’s actions,” said Monica Medina, U.S. Commissioner to the IWC and Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere. “Iceland is disregarding the global moratorium on commercial whaling, as well as the global ban on trade in whale meat. Iceland’s increasing harvest of whales, followed by the export of approximately 600 tons of fin whale meat, sends a clear message that Iceland is not interested in cooperative international conservation of whales.”
The Department of Commerce conserves, protects, and manages living marine resources through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The United States support conservation of the world’s whale populations through the International Whaling Commission.