US Considering Sanctions Against Iceland Over Whaling

Published July 21, 2011

The US government is considering imposing sanctions on Iceland for the practice of hunting endangered fin whales. Ministers within the Icelandic government – and even within the same party – have mixed reactions.
The Associated Press reports that the Obama administration intends to cite Iceland as an example when announcing a law that gives the US the right to impose sanctions on any country that flouts international animal conservation laws. After the announcement, which is set to happen Wednesday, the US president then has 60 days to decide on sanctions. Sanctions against Iceland would likely involve ceasing to import any Icelandic fish products, at least from companies connected to whaling.
Minister of Agriculture Jón Bjarnason told Vísir he is not concerned with a possible sanction, considering it “out of the question” that the US would do such a thing. He also takes issue with the US pointing out that Iceland is hunting an endangered species, saying that there are 20,000 fin whales in the North Atlantic, of which Iceland is hunting less than 200.
However, Árni Þór Sigurðsson – chairman of the foreign affairs committee and, like Jón, a member of the Leftist-Green party – believes the practice of whaling should stop, writing on his Facebook, “Icelanders (or should we say ‘An Icelander’?) hunting whales is more damaging for the business and political interests of Iceland than stopping [whale hunting].”
Árni’s use of the singular when talking about whale hunting is not meant entirely in jest. It has recently come to light that Iceland’s whaling “industry” is more or less the business venture of a single man, Kristján Loftsson.
With disagreements within the government over whaling, and possible sanctions looming, it is still not clear what official response the Icelandic government will take.



News
Satisfaction With President Reaches Record High

Satisfaction With President Reaches Record High

by

Nearly 82% of Icelanders are pleased with the job President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has been doing, according to a new

News
21 Syrian Refugees Arrive In Iceland

21 Syrian Refugees Arrive In Iceland

by

Iceland welcomed more Syrian refugees yesterday, and they will be settled in two South Iceland towns. Vísir reports that seven

News
PETA Donates Fur Coats To Icelanders In Need

PETA Donates Fur Coats To Icelanders In Need

by

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have donated 200 fur coats to Fjölskylduhjálp, a food bank and general

News
Progressive Party MP With Advice For White House Press Secretary

Progressive Party MP With Advice For White House Press Secretary

by

Shortly after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer slammed members of the press for what he called “deliberately false reporting,”

News
Greenland Mourns For Iceland

Greenland Mourns For Iceland

by

Greenlanders braved sub-zero temperatures to gather outside the Icelandic consulate in Nuuk last night in a show of sympathy for

News
Body Of Missing Woman Found

Body Of Missing Woman Found

by

Police announced at a press conference held just moments ago that the body of Birna Brjáns­dótt­ir has been found. RÚV

Show Me More!