Obama makes Iceland’s Whaling his Business

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Obama makes Iceland’s Whaling his Business

Whaling boats Reykjavík

Whaling boats in Reykjavík harbor.Photo: Páll Stefánsson

The U.S. Department of the Interior has certified to President Obama under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967 that Iceland’s international trade in whale meat and products diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“Iceland’s whaling undermines a worldwide effort to protect whales,” said Sally Jewell Secretary of State in a press statement, vísir.is reports.

The statement also reveals that the annual fin whale quota has been greatly increased in Iceland. Also, a five-year-old quota gives permission to hunt as many as 770 fin whales.

“Within the next sixty days, president Obama will decide which actions will be the appropriate response to the ministry’s certification,” a rep from the U.S. fish and wildlife services announced.

According to U.S. law, the President can place an embargo on fish imports from Iceland. Only once has that action been taken due to whaling, against Japan.

A similar situation arose in July 2011. Then the President of the United States instructed federal institutions to embark on a number of diplomatic actions to urge Iceland to alter their whaling policy.

Iceland’s Minister for fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson declined to comment.

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