The president of the United States, Barack Obama, wants Iceland to move from commercial whaling to whale watching only. He wants the US government to enhance its engagement to facilitate this change. "The nationals of Iceland are conducting trade in whale meat and products that diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)."
The Department of State is to re-examine bilateral cooperation projects, and where appropriate, to base U.S. cooperation with Iceland on the Icelandic government changing its whaling policy, abiding by the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling, and not engaging in trade in whale parts and products in a manner that diminishes the effectiveness of CITES.
Obama sent a message to Congress yesterday about the Icelandic government and their fin whale hunting and whale product trading.
"Iceland's actions jeopardize the survival of the fin whale, which is listed in CITES among the species most threatened with extinction, and they undermine multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales. Specifically, Iceland's continued commercial whaling and recent trade in whale products diminish the effectiveness of CITES because: (1) Iceland's commercial harvest of fin whales undermines the goal of CITES to ensure that international trade in species of animals and plants does not threaten their survival in the wild; and (2) Iceland's current fin whale harvest and quota exceeds catch levels that the IWC's scientific body advised were sustainable."
Obama wants Iceland to go from whaling to whale watching
"Just as the United States made the transition from a commercial whaling nation to a whale watching nation, we must enhance our engagement to facilitate this change by Iceland.
To ensure that this issue continues to receive the highest level of attention, I have directed: (1) relevant U.S. agencies to raise concerns with Iceland's trade in whale parts and products in appropriate CITES fora and processes, and, in consultation with other international actors, to seek additional measures to reduce such trade and enhance the effectiveness of CITES; (2) relevant senior Administration officials and U.S. delegations meeting with Icelandic officials to raise U.S. objections to commercial whaling and Iceland's ongoing trade in fin whale parts and products and to urge a halt to such action, including immediate notification of this position to the Government of Iceland; (3) the Department of State and other relevant agencies to encourage Iceland to develop and expand measures that increase economic opportunities for the nonlethal uses of whales in Iceland, such as responsible whale watching activities and educational and scientific research activities that contribute to the conservation of whales"