Obama Increases Pressure on Icelandic Whaling Policy

President Obama in a report to Congress on Thursday announced his intention to follow the suggestions of then Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to discourage Iceland from its whaling policy.

In a certification in line with requirements under the Pelly Amendment of the Fishermen’s Protective Act, Locke stated that Iceland’s policy of allowing its nationals to conduct whaling activities diminished the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conservation program.

Obama announced on Thursday that he shares Locke’s concerns, and provided six directions for American agencies, as listed below:

  1. relevant U.S. delegations attending meetings with Icelandic officials and senior Administration officials visiting Iceland to raise U.S. concerns regarding commercial whaling by Icelandic companies and seek ways to halt such action
  2. Cabinet secretaries to evaluate the appropriateness of visits to Iceland depending on continuation of the current suspension of fin whaling
  3. the Department of State to examine Arctic cooperation projects, and where appropriate, link U.S. cooperation to the Icelandic government changing its whaling policy and abiding by the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling
  4. the Departments of Commerce and State to consult with other international actors on efforts to end Icelandic commercial whaling and have Iceland abide by the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling
  5. the Department of State to inform the Government of Iceland that the United States will continue to monitor the activities of Icelandic companies that engage in commercial whaling
  6. relevant U.S. agencies to continue to examine other options for responding to continued whaling by Iceland.

“I direct the Secretaries of State and Commerce to continue to keep the situation under review and to continue to urge Iceland to cease its commercial whaling activities,” said President Obama in his memorandum. “It is my expectation that departments and agencies make substantive progress towards their implementation. To this end, within 6 months, or immediately upon the resumption of fin whaling by Icelandic nationals, I direct departments and agencies to report to me on their actions through the Departments of State and Commerce.”

“Iceland’s disregard for the International Whaling Commission’s global moratorium on commercial whaling is unacceptable,” said Monica Medina, U.S. commissioner for the IWC. “The actions the Obama Administration is now taking are designed to support the conservation of the world’s whale populations and convince Iceland to stop hunting whales.”

Source: NOAA

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