Tag Archives: Iceland

U.S. Certifies to Obama That Icelandic Whaling Undermines CITES and Whale Population Recovery

There are several petitions circulating on this cause.
Press Release
Interior Certifies that Iceland’s Commercial Whaling Undermines International Wildlife Conservation Treaty
February 6, 2014
Contacts:
Claire Cassel
703-358-2357
Claire_Cassel@fws.gov
Minke-Whale-With-Calf-SlaughteredWASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior has certified to President Obama under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967 that Iceland’s international trade in whale meat and products diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2006 and since then has exported whale meat and products despite a ban on international commercial trade. As provided under the Pelly Amendment, within 60 days following certification by the Secretary the President will determine what actions are appropriate in response to the certification.
“Just 25 years ago, commercial whaling had nearly driven whales to extinction, but thanks to a global effort to conserve whale stocks and end over-harvesting, several whale species have begun to recover,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “Iceland’s whaling activities undermine these worldwide efforts to conserve whales.”

The Havlur whaling company also created whale beer.
The Hvalur whaling company also created controversial whale beer.

Hvalur, the sole Icelandic company engaged in harvesting fin whales, resumed fin whale hunting in 2013, following a two-year hiatus due to market decline in Japan following the 2011 earthquake. The 2013 whaling season ran from mid-June until the end of September with a total of 134 fin whales killed. Iceland sets its own catch quotas for commercial whaling and has significantly increased those quotas over the last several years. For example, in 2006, the annual quota was set at just nine fin whales, while the 2013 annual quota authorized the hunting of up to 184 fin whales.
Iceland has recently announced a new five-year quota for fin whales, to begin with the 2014 whaling season, which will allow a total of up to 770 fin whales to be hunted in the next five years. Fin whales are hunted solely for export to the Japanese market.
From 2008 to 2012, trade reports show that more than 1.6 million kilograms of fin whale meat and products were exported from Iceland to Japan. Fin whales are listed in Appendix I of CITES, which prohibits trade for primarily commercial purposes.
Iceland also does not follow the procedure laid out by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to assess sustainable catch levels. The IWC was established to manage whaling activities for the conservation of whale populations and is viewed as the global body with expertise for the management of whale stocks.
In July 2011, then-Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke certified under Pelly that the commercial whaling activities by Icelandic nationals are undermining the effectiveness of the IWC conservation program. In response to that certification, the President directed federal agencies to undertake a number of diplomatic actions to encourage Iceland to change its whaling policy.

Photo by e-activist.com
Photo by e-activist.com

CITES is an international agreement signed by 179 nations that is designed to control and regulate international trade in certain listed animal and plant species. Approximately 35,000 species currently benefit from CITES protection. For additional information on CITES, please refer tohttp://www.fws.gov/international/cites/how-cites-works.html.
For additional information on the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967, please refer to http://www.fws.gov/international/laws-treaties-agreements/us-conservation-laws/pelly-amendment.htm

U.S. Certifies to Obama That Icelandic Whaling Undermines CITES and Whale Population Recovery

There are several petitions circulating on this cause.
Press Release
Interior Certifies that Iceland’s Commercial Whaling Undermines International Wildlife Conservation Treaty
February 6, 2014
Contacts:
Claire Cassel
703-358-2357
Claire_Cassel@fws.gov
Minke-Whale-With-Calf-SlaughteredWASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior has certified to President Obama under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967 that Iceland’s international trade in whale meat and products diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2006 and since then has exported whale meat and products despite a ban on international commercial trade. As provided under the Pelly Amendment, within 60 days following certification by the Secretary the President will determine what actions are appropriate in response to the certification.
“Just 25 years ago, commercial whaling had nearly driven whales to extinction, but thanks to a global effort to conserve whale stocks and end over-harvesting, several whale species have begun to recover,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “Iceland’s whaling activities undermine these worldwide efforts to conserve whales.”

The Havlur whaling company also created whale beer.
The Hvalur whaling company also created controversial whale beer.

Hvalur, the sole Icelandic company engaged in harvesting fin whales, resumed fin whale hunting in 2013, following a two-year hiatus due to market decline in Japan following the 2011 earthquake. The 2013 whaling season ran from mid-June until the end of September with a total of 134 fin whales killed. Iceland sets its own catch quotas for commercial whaling and has significantly increased those quotas over the last several years. For example, in 2006, the annual quota was set at just nine fin whales, while the 2013 annual quota authorized the hunting of up to 184 fin whales.
Iceland has recently announced a new five-year quota for fin whales, to begin with the 2014 whaling season, which will allow a total of up to 770 fin whales to be hunted in the next five years. Fin whales are hunted solely for export to the Japanese market.
From 2008 to 2012, trade reports show that more than 1.6 million kilograms of fin whale meat and products were exported from Iceland to Japan. Fin whales are listed in Appendix I of CITES, which prohibits trade for primarily commercial purposes.
Iceland also does not follow the procedure laid out by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to assess sustainable catch levels. The IWC was established to manage whaling activities for the conservation of whale populations and is viewed as the global body with expertise for the management of whale stocks.
In July 2011, then-Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke certified under Pelly that the commercial whaling activities by Icelandic nationals are undermining the effectiveness of the IWC conservation program. In response to that certification, the President directed federal agencies to undertake a number of diplomatic actions to encourage Iceland to change its whaling policy.
Photo by e-activist.com
Photo by e-activist.com

CITES is an international agreement signed by 179 nations that is designed to control and regulate international trade in certain listed animal and plant species. Approximately 35,000 species currently benefit from CITES protection. For additional information on CITES, please refer tohttp://www.fws.gov/international/cites/how-cites-works.html.
For additional information on the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967, please refer to http://www.fws.gov/international/laws-treaties-agreements/us-conservation-laws/pelly-amendment.htm

Norway is Killing More Whales Than It Can Use, Illegally Shipping Surplus to Japan

This seems to be the same tired story: old, narrow-minded and backwards beliefs causing people to behave badly.
Unfortunately people invest themselves in lifestyles that can only be sustained by destruction – and then argue that they have a right to keep doing it because it is their livelihood. Commercial fishery is a prime example – take too many fish you will soon pull up empty nets.
When resources collapse the blame games begin, and Norwegian (and Japanese) officials have got it in their collective noggins that the whales are responsible for depleted fish stocks. Solution? Kill the whales, even though this is contrary to the International Whaling Commission ban on commercial whaling. Then pretend that you are doing it for science, for food, or because your ancestors did it. {Note, some baleen whales do eat fish as part of their diet}.

But apparently Norwegians can only consume part of their whale catch, so they are shipping the surplus to Japan – in their press release, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) writes:

A bill of lading obtained by AWI shows that a shipment of 4,250 kg of frozen whale products from the Norwegian company, Myklebust Trading, left Ålesund, Norway, in mid-February, 2013, and is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on April 12. Paperwork identifies the recipient as a Japanese company, Toshi International.
International commercial trade in whale products is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Norway—unlike Iceland—has not successfully exported whale meat commercially since the 1980s, although attempts have been made. Most recently, a 2008 shipment of five metric tons of minke whale meat from Myklebust Trading, was rejected by the Japanese government due to contamination concerns.
AWI Executive Director Susan Millward called on the U.S. and other governments “to act decisively to convince Japan to reject Norway’s recent shipment of whale products.”

Minke whale (by Vania Kam on Flickr)

In the U.S. waters where whales are afforded complete protection, fish stocks are coming back when human impact is moderated (U.S Fish Stocks Rebound From Depletion). The whales are in balance with the plankton and fish in the ocean – even though they consume vast quantities, the great whales in particular tend to migrate long distances, and undergo fasts during parts of the year that can go on for months at a time, giving the food webs an opportunity to rebuild.
Norway, Japan, and Iceland take turns killing the whales and shipping the meat to each other in a shell game, and still their fish stocks continue to dwindle (read the AWI report here). Those countries have an attitude that they can continue in the old ways – even though those old ways got the ocean into the situation it is today – and they just look foolish to the rest of the world.

Fin Whales Face Iceland’s Harpoons Once More: Creative Math Yields Goofy Graphs

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) recently issued a press release which warns that Iceland plans to slaughter endangered whales this summer:

The Icelandic newspaper Skessuhorn reported yesterday that it had “reliable evidence” fin whaling will begin again, after being shut down last summer due to the impacts of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Although Kristján Loftsson, director of Hvalur, would not confirm, the paper claimed it had evidence that whaling will begin in June and is likely to last for three months.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) are urging European and US leaders to take strong diplomatic actions to end Iceland’s continued and expanding whaling.
Clare Perry, EIA senior campaigner, said: “Iceland has exported almost 2,000 tonnes of whale meat to Japan in recent years. The Icelandic whaling company Hvalur is deliberately growing an export market for an endangered species which is protected by two international agreements to which Iceland is signatory. We are calling on the EU and US to take urgent steps to end this rogue whaling.”

It is shortsighted for Iceland to take this stance, since the profitability of selling the meat (contaminated with pollutants often in excess of safe standards), is not sustainable…but of course that is not the whole story, and direct profit from whale slaughter may not even been their primary reason for killing the whales.  Simply put, whales and dolphins are seen as competitors for fish by the fishing industries of these countries, and they rely on some fairly creative figures to justify their position.
These days, any theoretical paper you read on the subject of fisheries involves mind boggling mathematics and complex computer models – yet even so, in the final analysis, the models often fall short of being an accurate representation of what is going on below the ocean surface, and when it comes to apex predators such as whales, the results can be disastrous if the figures are used to calculate how many can be slaughtered.
The problem with this type of approach is that is a top down strategy – starting with the top predators and working down the food chain to plankton – but the ocean is a bottom up system, and biologically it is driven by the biomass of plankton.  So much so that biological oceanography gives little more than a nod to anything higher up the food chain than krill.  But most of the basic fisheries models don’t include the whole life cycle loop, and for good reason – it adds too much complexity.
Yet the island countries of Iceland and Japan put considerable resources into trying to figure out just how many fish the cetaceans (whales and dolphins) consume. Based on theoretical numbers, they use these models to decide how many whales and dolphins to kill in order to conserve their lucrative fish industries (both countries enjoy a high standard of living), and they base the concept on some fairly contorted theorizing.
In this first graph, it looks like they tied a knot to make the data fit (*see below for source information):
And this one shows how you take four possible scenarios and stuff them in a sock to force data to fit:
From those numbers they come up with something like this, which seems to show that without the competition from marine mammals there would be a couple hundred thousand tons more fish for the fisheries industry:

The dashed line is the theoretical amount of catch without cetaceans (solid line), timeline should read 1993 to 2023.

But all of these mental gymnastics miss the point:  prior to the 19th century – when humans began commercial whaling in earnest – the oceans were teeming with fish.  The oceans were a system in balance, but with the development of technology humans reached farther and deeper into the seas, causing the collapse of fish (such as cod) as well as cetacean populations.  In other words, there were more fish when there were more whales.
The reason that it will never add up to take out other top predators and substitute our nets is that we remove the fish entirely from the system, interrupting the natural cycle and ignoring the feedback mechanisms that strike a balance in nature. Natural predators leave waste, and eventually their own bodies, to help fuel the system.

And we don’t know what the heck we are doing.  Please sign the petition to help put an end to Icelandic whaling.
*Reference for the graphs:  On Dynamic Interactions Between Some Fish Resources and Cetaceans off Iceland Based on a Simulation Model)

Whale Wars on the Internet: Iceland, Japan and Yahoo! Marketing Meat from Endangered Species

Today’s press release from The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) (a UK-based Non Governmental Organization that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental issues) calls for the online community provider Yahoo! to get out of the illegal trade business and develop a social consciousness.
These days, with Facebook and Google competing for network dominance, Yahoo! can’t afford to lose it’s users, a fact that will leave them open to a boycott.  For those of you who feel frustrated by the slow progress of international politics to end whaling, here is something you can do:  stop using Yahoo! until they decide to stop trading products from endangered species.

NEW FIN WHALE EXPORT BY UNREPENTANT ICELAND, Yahoo! urged to stop selling the meat of endangered whales.



Canned Icelandic fin whale on sale in Japan (c) Environmental Investigation Agency

LONDON: The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) today confirmed that a further 131 tonnes of Icelandic fin whale has been shipped to Japan and renewed its call for global retailer Yahoo! to immediately prohibit the sale of the endangered species via Yahoo! Japan.
The latest shipment brings the total of fin whale exported to Japan since Iceland resumed commercial whaling to more than 1,500 tonnes, despite the CITES Appendix 1 listing of fin whales clearly prohibiting international trade
In July, the EIA report Renegade Whaling identified Icelandic company Hvalur and its multi-millionaire boss Kristján Loftsson as hunting fin whales for export to Japan via a company he helped to set up.
But despite Iceland being certified under the US Pelly Amendment later that same month, it has now been confirmed that in August a new export to Japan took place of 131 tonnes of fin whale product with an estimated value of 209 million Icelandic króna ($1.7 million).

“On September 15, US President Barack Obama stated that Iceland’s whaling and trade in the meat threatens the conservation status of an endangered species and undermines multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales. Stopping short of targeted trade sanctions, he nevertheless announced diplomatic measures aiming to push Iceland to halt the trade.

Fin whale meat packed for transport - Iceland (c) EIA

Yahoo Japan! sells numerous Icelandic fin whale products, including large (1.5kg) blocks of meat, bacon (blubber) and canned products. As of September 2011, these products and many more were still available on the internet from Yahoo! Japan shopping sites; a survey by EIA found 10 different retailers offering Icelandic fin whale meat products for sale via Yahoo! Japan.
“At a time when the US Government is applying international pressure to force an end to Iceland’s whaling and international trade, Yahoo! Japan is effectively encouraging further hunting of the species by selling endangered fin whale meat products on its website,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry.
“It’s long past due that Yahoo! put its house in order and stopped profiting from, and stimulating, this bloody and wholly unnecessary slaughter.”
EIA first called on Yahoo! Japan in April 2010 to ban all sales of whale, dolphin and porpoise products on its store and auction websites after discovering that many products contained high levels of the neurotoxin mercury.”
Read EIA’s Renegade Whaling report at http://www.eia-international.org/renegade-whaling
Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
UK
www.eia-international.org

Whales Are Featured in the “Crimes Against Nature” Series on the National Geographic Channel

Last week’s announcement by Iceland that it would not hunt endangered Fin whales this year was good news, appreciated the world over.  Iceland thawed its frozen heart on this issue due to economic realities, brought into public scrutiny by the undercover work of eco-detectives from London’s Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).  The resulting documentary promises to a fascinating look into the underworld of commercial whaling.
“With powerful and haunting images, criminals caught in the act by hidden filming and courageous investigators operating on the dangerous front lines of environmental crime, these films will dramatically show viewers just how much a small but tightly focused and endlessly dedicated organisation can achieve,” said EIA Executive Director Mary Rice.
Tune in 9pm Tuesday, September 6th for the show on Icelandic whaling – or better yet, watch the whole series starting at 8 pm:

NEW FILMS ON ECO-DETECTIVES PREMIERE IN USA
Get on the front line with the Environmental Investigation Agency
LONDON: Three gripping new documentaries following the work of undercover investigators from the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) will premiere in the USA on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.
Launched as a three-part special under Nat Geo Wild’s Crimes Against Nature strand, the programmes have been a year in the making and will take viewers into the murky and high-stakes underbelly of global environmental crime, from Scandinavia and Africa to Southeast Asia and China.
The full line-up for US viewers on September 6 is:
Crimes Against Nature: Blood Ivory
8pm ET/PT (Eastern Time/Pacific Time)
The EIA team heads to Kenya, Hong Kong and China to investigate the world of elephant poaching and the international ivory trade. Following claims of an upsurge in poaching and ivory smuggling, EIA wants to establish firsthand what’s really going on. Visiting Kenya’s national parks, it documents the horrific reality of elephant poaching, and in China its undercover investigations discover startling revelations about how the ivory smuggling underworld works.
Read about the investigation behind the programme at http://www.eia-international.org/files/news654-1.pdf
Crimes Against Nature: Making a Killing
9pm ET/PT
Only a handful of countries continue to practice industrial whaling; Iceland is one of them, pursuing endangered fin whales in order to turn a profit. But rumours have persisted that there is a lack of demand for this whale meat in both Iceland and Japan, its main export market. With this in mind, EIA investigators pack their undercover cameras and attempt to locate and understand the driving force behind this trade.
Read about the investigation behind the programme at http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/news/news.cgi?t=template&a=649&source=
Crimes Against Nature: Chainsaw Massacre
10pm ET/PT
EIA’s undercover agents head to Laos and Vietnam for a new investigation into the notoriously dangerous timber trade. Vietnam is fast becoming a major global player in the timber industry, but with little forest left of its own it is largely dependent on importing timber from other countries. EIA suspects a lot of this timber is being taken illegally from Southeast Asia’s rapidly declining tropical rainforests and will stop at nothing to expose this devastating environmental crime which has the potential to affect us all.
Read about the investigation behind the programme at http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/news/news.cgi?t=template&a=651&source=
“With powerful and haunting images, criminals caught in the act by hidden filming and courageous investigators operating on the dangerous front lines of environmental crime, these films will dramatically show viewers just how much a small but tightly focused and endlessly dedicated organisation can achieve,” said EIA Executive Director Mary Rice.
The three Crimes Against Nature programmes are due to be broadcast on Nat Geo Wild in other territories, including the UK, later this year – watch http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/news/news.cgi?t=template&a=658&source=
for details!
Internet users in the US can see previews of two of the films on YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/NatGeoWiLd?blend=4&ob=5#p/u/8/1WvAE4AJgic
http://www.youtube.com/user/NatGeoWiLd?blend=4&ob=5#p/u/9/WpzuPNywtfE
http://www.youtube.com/user/NatGeoWiLd?blend=4&ob=5#p/u/10/-vaCBpAZE44
http://www.youtube.com/user/NatGeoWiLd?blend=4&ob=5#p/u/11/_myiYrepTQ8
Interviews are available on request: please contact EIA Press Officer Paul Newman at paulnewman@eia-international.org or telephone 020 7354 7960.
EDITORS’ NOTES
1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK-based Non Governmental Organisation and charitable trust (registered charity number 1040615) that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.
Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
UK
www.eia-international.org
Tel: +44 207 354 7960
Fax: +44 207 354 7961

Iceland’s Pirate Whaling Policies – Update 9/17/11 U.S. Imposes Sanctions

Update 9/17/11 President Obama begins sanctions:

I direct the Secretaries of State and Commerce to continue to keep the situation under review and to continue to urge Iceland to cease its commercial whaling activities. It is my expectation that departments and agencies make substantive progress towards their implementation. To this end, within 6 months, or immediately upon the resumption of fin whaling by Icelandic nationals, I direct departments and agencies to report to me on their actions through the Departments of State and Commerce.

I believe that these actions hold the most promise of effecting a reduction in Iceland’s commercial whaling activities, and support our broader conservation efforts. BARACK OBAMA
Iceland thumbs its collective nose at the rules, agreements, and standards of conduct that most of the rest of the world believes is necessary to ensure the survival of whales and dolphins.
They slaughter endangered fin whales and send the meat to Japan.
They slaughter the little Minke whales, and in what is just twisted and grotesque, serve the meat to unsuspecting tourists in their ‘look and cook‘ program – in which they combine whale watching trips followed by samples of “traditional” Icelandic food – However, prior to 1914 Icelanders did not hunt Minke whales. Superstition held that Minke whales were sent by God as protectors.” (Wikipedia)

Icelandic whaling takes this…


and puts it here:

Canned Icelandic fin whale on sale in Japan (c) EIA

It exchanges this experience…
Minke Whale (Scuba Centre Photo)

for this one:
Harpooned Minke Whale

“In the long and bloody history of commercial whale hunting, Iceland is one of the most notorious and persistent protagonists, killing more than 35,000 whales since the late 19th century and opposing or circumventing efforts by the international community to regulate whaling and prevent the decimation of whale populations.”  (EIA Iceland Whaling Report)

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is calling for economic sanctions against Iceland until that country complies with the rest of the world.  More information can be found here.

REQUIRED ACTIONS BY THE US AND EUROPEAN UNION (EU)
By taking strong action against Iceland, not only will the Obama Administration live up to its promises to strengthen the commercial whaling moratorium, but it will also help to ensure a real future for the IWC.
In 2009, following the collapse of its economy, Iceland applied to join the EU. Iceland’s EU accession negotiations provide a unique opportunity to end Iceland’s whaling and trade in whale products for good.
Although EU Directive 92/43/EEC (the Habitats Directive) prohibits “all forms of deliberate capture or killing” of whales, as well as sales of whale products in the EU, it provides an opportunity for member states to ‘derogate’, under defined conditions, from the Directive’s prohibitions.
It is therefore crucial that EU Member States take a zero-tolerance position to Iceland’s whaling and trade in the negotiation of its accession, to ensure that Iceland does not take a derogation. WDCS and EIA commend the Dutch and German Parliaments for passing Resolutions in 2010 stating that Icelandic whaling would be unacceptable under EU law, and urge all other EU countries that are members of the IWC to take similar action.

Please support all economic boycotts of Iceland.

"By 2010, two minke whaling companies were operating in Iceland, and sales of whale meat continued to improve with more than 100 shops and restaurants throughout the country offering minke whale meat." (EIA Icelandic Whaling Report)

Actor Pierce Brosnan Speaks Out Against Icelandic Whaling

Update 8/17/11: New video message from Brosnan


Pierce Brosnan
Courtesy of The Natural Resources Defense Council:
“The time has come for Iceland to pay a steep price for its inhumane and illegal slaughter of whales.
But that may only happen if hundreds of thousands of us speak out now with one powerful voice that cannot be ignored.
Let me explain. The U.S. Commerce Secretary has just formally declared that Iceland is defying the international ban on commercial whaling.
That declaration starts the clock ticking on a 60-day period during which President Obama must decide whether or not to impose trade sanctions on Iceland.
Please join me in urging the President to impose tough sanctions and make Iceland pay a real, measurable price for its mass killing of whales.
Iceland has proven that it will thumb its nose at anything less — and will go right on slaughtering whales for profit. In 2004, the United States denounced Iceland in the same manner — but failed to impose sanctions — and Iceland proceeded to ramp up its awful slaughter.
Since 2006, Iceland has killed 280 endangered fin whales and more than 200 minke whales. In the last two years alone, it has exported millions of dollars worth of whale meat, blubber and oil to Japan, Norway, Latvia and Belarus.
Iceland is not only flouting the ban on whaling, it is depleting whale populations at an alarming rate. It’s practically begging to be sanctioned.
Please ask President Obama to make Iceland pay a price at long last — for the sake of whale survival. For starters, he could target imports by those Icelandic seafood companies directly tied to the whaling industry.
But do not assume for a second that such presidential action is a sure thing. In fact, the U.S. has never before imposed sanctions on another nation for whaling. That’s why it’s so important that President Obama feel a groundswell of public support if he is to take this next historic step.
Please make your own voice heard inside the White House.
You can be sure that Iceland will not end the abhorrent practice of whaling until it is forced to do so. Let’s fight ’em. Again and again.
Sincerely,
Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
Natural Resources Defense Council”

An important message from Pierce Brosnan
“Please join me in urging President Obama to impose tough trade sanctions on Iceland for its illegal slaughter of whales.”

It’s time to make Iceland pay a price for killing whales

Iceland Choosing Not to Hunt Fin Whales Is Due to the Honor in Japanese Culture

Normally Iceland takes fin whales as part of it’s “subsistence” allotment, which it then turns around and tries to peddle on the open market, usually to Japan.
But in a surprising turn of events, Japan has politely refused to buy this whale meat – not because of a change in attitude towards whaling, nor to fears of the high levels of contaminants present in whale meat, but simply out of respect and support for their fellow citizens.
According to the Iceland Review,

the Japanese are showing solidarity with one another. Those who weren’t directly impacted by the catastrophe don’t go out to have fun and don’t eat at restaurants but rather have simple food at home, he described.
“There is no use for us to try and sell whale under these circumstances,” Loftsson commented. Also, three companies that have taken part in the import and processing of Hvalur’s fin whale meat were destroyed in the disaster.

My son, who is minoring in Japanese and who spent a semester abroad in Japan last year was recently helping me comprehend a google translation of a Japanese scientific article, much of which looked nonsensical. My son explained at that time that the Japanese language is structured to reflect the wholeness of the nation, and how everything reflects upon the community awareness, versus our American language which all too often is about “I” “Me” “Mine”. The particular article we were struggling with concerned dolphins and radioactive contamination, but the google translation got most boggled in trying to translate what the author recommended people do about situation because of the cultural differences imbedded in the language.
That whaling is not commercially viable at this point is good news, but that Japan continues to demonstrate how to survive loss and tragedy with dignity is nothing short of inspirational.

“Killer Whale Terrorizes Reykjavík Residents” (From The Icelandic Review)

This is not an April Fool’s joke, but brings a smile anyway:
From The Icelandic Review)

“01.04.2011 | 09:00
Killer Whale Terrorizes Reykjavík Residents
A few days ago, the number of ducks on the Reykjavík Pond by City Hall in the center of the capital started to decrease significantly. Many of the city’s inhabitants notified the police authorities that they had seen a dark object in the pond; some people even claimed it was a supernatural creature.
falsekillerwhale-tjornin
Jón Árnason, a staff member at the University of Iceland Folklore Institute was quoted in tabloid newspaper DV as saying that the creature is probably a sea monster, similar to the giant Lagarfljót serpent in East Iceland.
According to legend, the Lagarfljót worm is an overgrown earthworm that was created when it was put on top of a heap of gold to make it grow—but instead the worm grew. Through the years, both inhabitants in the vicinity of the Lagarfljót lake and visitors have reported sightings of the serpent.
Árnason went on to speculate (and was quickly ridiculed by commentators as a result) that one of the so-called “outvasion Vikings”—most of whom are said to have hidden their “gold” in Tortola before the banking collapse in 2008—had tested this ancient method of money yielding with the aforementioned consequences.
Yet there was no viable explanation as to what was happening at the pond until this morning when a tourist snapped the above picture of the Reykjavík Pond and what appeared to be a whale’s fin (see the top left corner).
It turned out that there was indeed a whale in the pond, a false killer whale, to be precise. How it got there has an even more adventurous explanation: It was part of a campaign to promote Iceland as a destination for winter tourism—to show that whale watching is also possible in winter, a representative of the initiative, who would not be named, explained.
He admitted, though, that the unorthodox marketing initiative hadn’t been thought through as it compromised the wellbeing of the pond’s inhabitants—the whale left many ducks either dead or wounded—and that people might also have been at risk.
And so the whale will be returned to its natural habitat today. Locals and visitors are invited to come watch the rescue operation, which will begin at 1 pm (Icelandic time), but it is recommended that spectators observe the spectacle from inside the City Hall as standing on the banks of the pond may prove dangerous.

The operation can also be watched on the live webcam on the Inspired by Iceland website.”