Clone of EU governments lead global protest against Icelandic Whaling

archive photo © IFAW
Monday, 15 September, 2014
Brussels, Belgium

Today in Reykjavik, Iceland the 28 member states of the EU led a coalition including the US, Australia, Brazil, Israel and New Zealand against Icelandic whaling. The coalition expressed their “strong opposition to Iceland’s continuing and increased harvest of whales… and to its ongoing international trade in whale products.”

The diplomatic move was welcomed by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare–

“This is the third demarche in recent years and the countries involved should be saluted for continuing, stubbornly, to raise the issue of Icelandic whaling.  The killing of endangered fin whales undermines international protection efforts and the global moratorium on whaling,” said Sonja Van Tichelen, IFAW’s EU Regional Director.

The full text of the demarche can be found below. It states in part:

“We are especially troubled by Iceland's harvest of 125 fin whales in 2009, 148 fin whales in 2010, and 134 fin whales in 2013, all of which are a significant increase from the seven fin whales harvested over the 20 years prior to 2009. The current 5 year quota of 770 fin whales is considered unsustainable under IWC stock assessment methods.”

Furthermore, we would like to draw attention to the considerable economic, social and educational benefits of Iceland’s growing whale watching industry as a possible alternative to commercial whaling. We hope the Icelandic Government will seriously consider the benefits of eliminating commercial whaling and return to its previous position of acceptance of the moratorium on commercial whaling that was put in place by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.”

Van Tichelen continued, “There is no easy way to kill a whale. Modern whalers use explosive harpoons, traditional harpoons and guns to kill whales. The whales die slowly, suffering painfully with some taking more than 30 minutes to die.”

The international demarche comes during the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Slovenia where countries gather to discuss ongoing whaling – primarily by Iceland, Norway and Japan.

Van Tichelen concluded, “Whales face more threats than ever before. Most whale populations are endangered worldwide and more than 38,000 whales have been killed for commercial purposes since the ban on whaling came into effect in 1986. As well as the threat from commercial and ‘scientific whaling’, whales are threatened by ship strikes, accidental entanglements in fishing gear and marine debris, climate change, pollution and man-made ocean noise. “


About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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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