The 28 states of the European Union along with the governments of Australia, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, Monaco, and the United States expressed their opposition to the fact that Iceland still allows commercial whaling, most notably the hunting and subsequent trading of fin whale. The EU’s Ambassador to Iceland, Matthias Brinkmann, who delivered a demarche to this effect along with the diplomatic representatives of the United States, Germany, France, and the UK, said that public opinion in the countries that are Iceland’s major trade partners is strongly against whale hunting. This is demonstrated by the public pressure that is being put on firms around the world to boycott Icelandic goods in addition to the pressure that voters and non-profit organizations put on political representatives to make Iceland aware of the consequences of whale hunting.
The text of the demarche expresses strong opposition to “Iceland’s continuing and increased commercial harvest of whales and its ongoing international trade in whale products”. Although Reykjavik is well-known for its responsible marine resource management, the coalition of 33 countries is disappointed by the ongoing authorization of hunting of fin and minke whales. The coalition furthermore argues that the authorization given by the Icelandic government has not been presented to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and does not take into account the long-term well-being of cetacean conservation.
The EU and partner countries were especially troubled by the Iceand’s harvest of whales in the last five years and an overall increasing trend of hunting. The current 5-year quota of 770 fin whales is deemed unsustainable under IWC stock assessment methods. The coalition encouraged Iceland to respect the internationally agreed moratorium on commercial whaling and reconsider its decision to keep on issuing quotas on whale hunting. The EU also stressed that Iceland’s international trade in whale products is in a breach of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora on the grounds of a mismatch between Iceland’s harvest and demand of the domestic market. Iceland was urged to safeguard whales from international trade and support cetacean conservation efforts.