It has come to light that both Japan and Iceland have been shipping whale meat through Canada.
The Vancouver Sun reports that both Canadian politicians and Greenpeace are angry over the practice, but the law remains unclear as to what Canada can do about it:
Canada says it is helpless to stop the trade, even though it is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) …
Iceland and Japan are also signatories to the convention but did not agree to the 1981 listing, which means they are legally permitted to trade in the whale’s meat and even to use Canada as a trans-shipment destination.
“When two countries do so, like Iceland and Japan have for fin whale, Canada has to allow shipments under customs control to transit provided they meet normal documentation and other requirements,” Environment Canada spokesperson Jirina Vlk said in a statement Wednesday to The Vancouver Sun.
The long and short of it is: so long as the whale meat stays “in bond or under seal”, Iceland’s and Japan’s whaling vessels can dock wherever they please.
Despite this loophole, Sarah King, oceans campaign coordinator for Greenpeace, told reporters, “By allowing the transit of whale meat through the country, Canada is an accomplice … The federal government must prohibit the transport of whale meat through Canadian ports.”
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, was also vexed by the news, saying, “When you go through the airports they have these wonderful display cases: ‘If you’re going abroad, don’t come back with tortoise shells’ … but I guess if you want to buy a whole lot of endangered whale carcasses you can transport them, put them right through Canada.”
The whole story can be read at the Vancouver Sun.