Spotlight Iceland: what is the point of your whaling, Mr. Loftsson?
Mr Loftsson, the lone, obstinate fin whaler in Iceland, seems to be in trouble.
For years the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been asking “what’s the point?” of his whaling operation. Besides being cruel, his whaling has never looked profitable. His only possible market, Japan, has never been particularly inviting and now he’s having trouble finding anyone who will carry the products of his cruel trade.
Mr Loftsson’s most recent troubles began at the beginning of July when whale meat was discovered in a merchant vessel in Rotterdam harbour. It was labelled as “fish”, but the six containers were estimated to contain the meat of between five and six fin whales. After a huge on-line Avaaz campaign deluged a million emails on the port authorities, they announced that no further whale meat would be allowed into their port as such a trade was in breach of their corporate responsibility policies.
Attention then turned to the exporter, Samskip. Within days they issued a statement saying they would not carry the six containers to Japan and that“, for the sake of avoiding any misunderstanding, Samskip confirms that it does not plan to ship whale meat in the future.”
Mr Loftsson then had to sit and accept that his six containers of whale meat were put back on a ship to Reykjavik. As if that wasn’t enough, he then had to watch his cargo televised on national TV being received into Reykjavik harbour by a welcoming flotilla organised by IFAW and Icewhale – the Icelandic Federation of Whale Watchers. They held up a huge pointing finger beside their banner which read “what’s the point of whaling?”
Mr Loftsson may have not been happy, but he likes to put a brave face on things. His shareholders may be complaining in public that the whaling loses money, ports maybe closing to his cruel trade and carriers refusing to carry it, but Mr Loftsson was recently reported in the media as not worried and intent on continuing to kill fin whales.
Mr Loftsson is Iceland’s lone, obstinate fin whaler, and now he seems to be losing the plot.
Someone needs to put a friendly arm around his shoulder and say, “enough is enough, Mr Loftsson”.