From Iceland — Ship Bearing Fin Whale Meat Heads North

Ship Bearing Fin Whale Meat Heads North

Published June 8, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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A ship containing tonnes of fin whale meat has changed course, heading not for Ghana but farther north along western Iceland.

RÚV reports that the ship Winter Bay – reportedly carrying 1,700 tonnes of fin whale meat – was scheduled to be heading to Ghana, according to Marine Traffic. However, the ship is instead heading north, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) believes the meat is headed for Japan.

As reported, the IFAW has objected to the shipment in a statement issued last month, calling it “a bloody trade” that must be stopped.

“Icelanders don’t even eat fin whale meat yet these endangered whales continue to be killed because of the actions of one businessman intent on resuscitating the whale meat trade,” Patrick Ramage, Global Whale Programme Director for IFAW, said. “[Whaler Kristján] Loftsson seems determined to go ahead despite the huge cost to him and the reputation of his beautiful country. When there is still a huge unused and unwanted stock of whale meat from last year, we urge him to abandon plans to harpoon more whales this summer.”

Last year, efforts on behalf of both Greenpeace and the IFAW forced ships containing Icelandic whale meat to be turned away from several ports of call on their way to Japan. Similar actions are expected to be in the works this year.

While the Ministry of Industries and Innovation emphasises that the fin whales of the North Atlantic are plentiful, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the fin whale as an endangered species, making no distinction between fin whales in the North Atlantic or other parts of the world.

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