Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told reporters that he is not concerned over the possibility of the US imposing sanctions against Iceland for hunting endangered fin whales.
As reported, a source close to the Obama administration told the Associated Press that the US president 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.
The possibility of sanctions has had some Icelanders concerned, among them whale watching groups. Although they are very strongly opposed to whale hunting, they believe sanctions would do more harm than good.
However, Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told radio station Rás 2 that he found it hard to believe that the US would actually go through with the threat to impose sanctions against the country. Steingrímur contends that while the US Department of Commerce may be issuing this threat, the Department of State is “not as excited about [sanctions]”.
Whether the US follows through with the threat of sanctions or not, it should be noted that Iceland’s whaling “industry” consists pretty much of one company, Hvalur hf., which is run by one person, Kristján Loftsson. His company, however, has been linked to other fishing companies in Iceland.