Wikileaks Reveals That Diplomacy Has Failed On Icelandic Whaling
Despite the hunts for fin whales by Iceland escalating, the demand for fin whale meat in Iceland is small, making a foreign marketplace a necessity. As a result, exports of whale meat and products to Japan have risen dramatically.
Wikileaks has revealed a series of cables from the US embassy in Iceland dated from 2006 to 2009 that speak of Iceland's moves to export tons of fin whale meat to Japan despite the ban on commercial whaling set by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.
The cables outline a series of discussions on whaling that embassy staff and others held with their Icelandic counterparts, as well as diplomatic "demarches" (protests) issued on separate occasions by groups of countries opposed to Icelandic whaling.
Other cables contain comments by employees of the Icelandic company responsible for these exports that confirm their own doubts about a new whale market:
"Staff members of Hvalur, hf, which is the only company in Iceland with the capability to hunt large whales, told Emboff [embassy officials] on July 3 that whaling is providing jobs for 150 to 200 people. However, they admitted they are keeping their fingers crossed that there is a market for the meat and said, otherwise 'this is a doomed operation.'"
The cable adds that the Japanese Charge d'Affaires at the time informed embassy officials that "he didn't believe there was a market for the fin meat in Japan." However, a subsequent cable dated September 24, 2009 from the U.S. Secretary of State talked of Iceland's “significant increase in whaling activity” and that this may mean “that this large fin whale harvest will be exported to Japan...”
In late December, WDCS led a coalition of nineteen groups in calling on the US government to take action
For more on the Wikileaks Iceland story, click here