Iceland’s primary whaler accused reporters of “lapping up” what he calls misinformation about his hunting of fin whales, and dismissed a widespread anti-whaling petition as “a joke”.
Kristján Loftsson, – who is the director of Iceland’s largest whaling company, Hvalur hf., and fast becoming the international face of Icelandic whaling, told RÚV he believes a petition from Avaaz – World In Action is filled with fake signatures. The petition is calling upon the island of St. Kitts to strip one of his whaling ships, Winter Bay, of its flag of convenience.
“If you look at this website, we saw as we kept track of it that there was a new signature every 1.3 seconds,” he told reporters. “As the clock turned, there came a signature from South Africa, and then from Canada, and another from the US and another from Holland, and so on. So this is just a joke, and I’m surprised you [reporters] are listening to this nonsense. Take a closer look at it.”
In point of fact, the Guardian called Avaaz “the globe’s largest and most powerful online activist network”. Kristján may also have reason to worry about Avaaz, as in 2013 they successfully convinced the Dutch government to stop letting ships carrying whale meat from docking in Holland.
For this reason, and for whale shipments being blocked in other ports of call, it has been speculated that Winter Bay’s 1,700 tonnes of fin whale meat are taking the Arctic route through Russian waters to Japan in order to avoid further obstruction.
“This is just some kind of spin from a particular group that you’re lapping up,” Kristján told reporters, asserting that it is not even necessary for a ship to dock anywhere during a global journey. “Getting oil on the open sea is a developed profession around the world. So you don’t need to dock anywhere. You can see, for example, [illegal] fishing boats off the coast of Western Sahara. They dock maybe once every three years.”