The Icelandic whaling crusader Kristjan Loftsson is trying to ship around 2,000 tonnes of fin whale meat to Japan despite the limited market and strong opposition domestically and abroad to the trade.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) learnt last week that Loftsson’s fin whale meat was being put onto the Alma cargo ship in Hafnarfjordur Harbour just outside Reykjavik, headed for Japan.
There have been a number of sightings of Loftsson near the Cypriot-registered freezer ship in recent days, although reports state that he denies he knows anything about whale meat being on board. To add fuel to the fire, “Frozen Whale” was written on the boxes in Japanese.
In February, the US government announced that it would take action against the North Atlantic nation overs its refusal to stop slaughtering whales and the part it plays in the whale meat trade. The US will use the Pelly Amendment, which proves Iceland has breached the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). President Obama is due to discuss the action his country will take in the coming days before the 1 April deadline.
The IFAW’s Global Whale Programme Director Patrick Ramage said that it was a strange situation because Icelanders don’t eat whale meat, but one businessman seems desperate to breathe new life into international whale meat trading. He noted that he is now trying to get the meat of this endangered species out of the country in any way possible before the US is able to do anything.
Ramage went on to say that the watching world would prefer to come to Iceland to watch whales instead of seeing the last gasp of a “dying industry” harpoon the country’s interests.