Clear call to conscience as Port of Rotterdam closes to whale meat

Anti-whaling protesters watch as the first fin whale of the season is flensed at a whaling station in Iceland.

We have established that Iceland’s fin whaling seems to be down to one maverick and arguably eccentric man who appears hell bent on upsetting the Icelandic tourist industry, the whale watching industry, eminent journalists and his own shareholders. Next on his list is the Port of Rotterdam, which also wants nothing to do with his repugnant trade.

Thanks to an overwhelming supporter response to an Avaaz online campaigning appeal, more than one million people wrote to the owners of Rotterdam port when they heard that some of Mr Loftsson’s whale meat was transiting en route from Reykjavik to Tokyo.

The port authorities clearly had a look at their ethical policy, had a think about their reputation and in short order announced that they would no longer accept whale meat even transiting through their port.

Samskip, the Icelandic carriers, responded by saying that they would abide by this new regulation. That’s one more route for Mr Loftsson’s  whale meat trade closed down.

However, Samskip have not said that they will stop carrying whale meat. We can only presume that they are looking for other ports to transit the whale meat through as there are no direct shipping routes from Reykjavik to Tokyo. 

That’s why the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) sent out a press release in the UK calling on all ports to follow Rotterdam’s historic announcement to forbid even the transit of whale meat through its facility. We will shortly be writing to all UK port owners and asking that they join Rotterdam in taking a similar stand. IFAW offices across Europe will be approaching their ports at the same time.

As pressure on the trade in fin whales, an endangered species, is mounting in Iceland and around the world, someone needs to put a friendly arm around Mr Loftsson’s shoulder and tell him that he is damaging Iceland’s reputation and endangering the growing whale watching and tourism sector in Iceland. 

They also need to remind him that his own shareholders admit that he is throwing good money after bad on this so called enterprise. He’s obviously a proud man who is determined not to lose face, but sense should prevail and this cruel, damaging and unnecessary killing of fin whales should end. 

More and more he is becoming a lone figure and hopefully that friendly and convincing arm will go around Mr Loftsson’s shoulder sometime soon.

-- RM

For more information about our efforts to end the commercial hunting of whales visit our campaign page.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation