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
Actavis Bought By Foreign Pharmaceutical Company

Actavis Bought By Foreign Pharmaceutical Company

by

Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. has agreed to buy Allergan Plc, the parent company of Actavis, for $40.5 billion USD. In

News
Papers Will Continue After Acquisition

Papers Will Continue After Acquisition

by

The newspapers recently acquired by Vefpressan will keep coming, but one editor was very blunt about his feelings on working

News
Viking Festival: All The Great Things About The Dark Ages, Plus Access To Penicillin

Viking Festival: All The Great Things About The Dark Ages, Plus Access To Penicillin

by

Much to the disappointment of many holiday-goers, modern day Icelanders are pretty far removed from their Viking ancestors. Ceremonial sacrifices

News
Chief Icelandic Whaler Believes Australia Should Start Whaling, Too

Chief Icelandic Whaler Believes Australia Should Start Whaling, Too

by

Kristján Loftsson (pictured left), Iceland’s primary whaler, believes Australia should stop opposing whaling and start hunting humpback whales. In an

News
PHOTOS: Yesterday, Thousands Marched In Reykjavík SlutWalk 2015

PHOTOS: Yesterday, Thousands Marched In Reykjavík SlutWalk 2015

by

Spirits were high in downtown Reykjavík yesterday, as several thousand protestors took to the streets to march in the annual

News
Says Icelandic Products Need “Country Of Origin” Labels

Says Icelandic Products Need “Country Of Origin” Labels

by

The Federation of Icelandic Industries (SI) believes domestic production is damaged by a lack of “country of origin” labels on

Show Me More!