Greenpeace activists blocked a shipment of endangered fin whale meat going from Iceland to Japan via Rotterdam in Holland and sent a request to the Dutch government as well.
On Friday morning, Greenpeace activists sacrificed their Easter holidays in order to help stop the killing and trade of endangered fin whales. Fewer than 50,000 fin whales are expected to exist in the North Atlantic Ocean and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) has put a ban on the international trade of fin whale meat. Iceland and Japan will not sign onto the treaty but the Netherlands has done so. Greenpeace wants the Netherlands to live up to its commitment to stop the killing of endangered whales by not allowing this meat to leave its port.
“Greenpeace activists have chained themselves to the mooring ropes of a ship carrying an illicit cargo of whale meat to prevent it leaving the port of Rotterdam bound for Japan,” Greenpeace wrote this weekend.
Greenpeace activists want the Netherlands to confiscate the shipment and set an example for other countries (approximately 175) that have signed the treaty banning trade of the endangered fin whale, the second largest whale in the world.
“The Netherlands has to be clear about its position. Does it want to have a hand in the transit of illicit whale meat?” asks Pavel Klinckhamers, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. “We want to send a clear message. If the Netherlands is involved in whale trade, it is jointly responsible for the unacceptable downfall of this endangered species.”
The International Whaling Committee (IWC) will discuss the future of these whales at a meeting in June. Unfortunately, there is continued push to legalize the killing and trade of these whales. A new report by the Icelandic government makes the argument that fewer whales would be mean higher quotas for commercial fisheries. Wow, looks like a sustainable idea — kill off the whales so humans can kill more fish. The point of the study that I’m sure Greenpeace made sure to take note of was a recommendation to reassess the decision to continue whaling if it has negative impacts on the nation’s image.
I wonder how long human societies can go on thinking only about short-term economic goals in the face of glaring ethical and even practical concerns like global climate change.
Image Credit: dryoptera via flickr under a CC license