Victory! The U.S. Takes Action Against Icelandic Whaling

NOTE: This is a guest post from Karen Vale at the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Last month, WSPA asked Care2 members to urge President Obama to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions against Iceland due to its whaling activities. Today, WSPA is happy to announce that his decision is finally in — the president will use diplomatic measures to impede Iceland’s commercial whaling program.

While the president did not impose economic sanctions on products imported into the U.S. as we would have liked, WSPA is pleased that various diplomatic measures will be put into place. This shows that the U.S. is taking steps in the right direction to hold Iceland accountable for its cruel and unnecessary whaling activities.

Iceland’s Defiant Whaling Activities

Iceland has repeatedly ignored international conservation agreements, including the International Whaling Commission (IWC)’s ban on whaling, and drastically increased its whaling activities and international trade in whale products in recent years. Hundreds of minke whales and endangered fin whales have been killed since Iceland resumed whaling in 2006 — nearly 300 animals in 2009-2010 alone!

According to a law called the Pelly Amendment, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior can formally “certify” a county if it is “diminishing the effectiveness” of conservation treaties, such as the IWC’s ban on whaling. Once a country is certified, the president then has the authority to impose sanctions.

WSPA and Advocates Demand Action Against Iceland

In response to a petition filed by WSPA and 18 other groups in 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) reviewed Iceland’s whaling activities and determined them to be undermining global conservation agreements. The DOC formally announced Iceland’s certification on July 19, 2011, giving President Obama two months to decide whether the U.S. would take further action, including diplomatic and economic sanctions.

After tens of thousands of supporters from around the world made it clear that it was time for the U.S. to show strong leadership and protect our plant’s great whales, on Sept. 15, the president announced that the U.S. would use diplomatic measures against Iceland, including:

- The U.S. will raise concerns about whaling at meetings with Icelandic officials;

- U.S. officials will evaluate the appropriateness of visits to Iceland;

- Arctic cooperation projects will be reviewed and the U.S.’s involvement will be linked to whether Iceland abides by the IWC’s moratorium on whaling;

- The U.S. will monitor activities of Icelandic companies that engage in commercial whaling; and

- Under a reporting requirement, the Departments of State and Commerce must keep the situation under review and report back to the President.

WSPA strongly believes that the slaughter of whales is inhumane, unnecessary and unsustainable — and it needs to end. For more on their work to protect marine mammals, please visit


Related Stories:

President Obama Considers Sanctions To Save Whales

Priority Goals at International Whaling Commission 63 in New Jersey

Japan Forced To Suspend Whale Hunt in Antarctica


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Neil A.
Neil A.2 years ago

Please Totally BOYCOTT ALL ICELANDIC GOODS & SERVICES, these people do not deserve your money.

Fiona T.
Fi T.2 years ago

We want more news like this

Connie T.
con t.2 years ago

O.K. great - now what about the Japanese?

Ari Georgsson
Ari Georgsson3 years ago

United States has one of the largest whaling fleets in the world.
Your mission - to track down anyone buying fish from Alaska fisherman.

Patty Boytos
Patty B.3 years ago

Instead of murdering whales ..Iceland should embrace them and in doing so MAKE TONS OF MONEY by whale watching tours. It is a big draw for people to watch these incredible creatures (the whales..not the people) in the ocean .Also..maybe stop eating their majestic ponies also . But I really have no right to tell a country what to do ,,but only suggest .

Pedro Leal
Pedro Leal3 years ago

Free Captain Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd NOW!!!
Whale poachers are criminals,bring them to justice!

Amanda Lloyd
Amanda Lloyd3 years ago

we need to do every little thing to stop these killers of the innocent

Cindy Strousberg

We need to do everything we can to stop these killers from slaughtering these beautiful creatures

Nino U.
Nino U.4 years ago

Be it whale watch

Anna Borsey
Anna Borsey4 years ago

@ Pauline M. - "Iceland went through a most horrific ecomomic crash in Oct 2008 and since then we have been shocked to see just how much corruption there is in this small country of just 320,000 people and most of the scandals have been with just a handful of families who own most of the wealth."

I would query that a nation with only 320 000 inhabitants is even an economically viable nation.

Exactly WHY did the Icelandic government permit that insane bank scam? Does the government of Iceland have NO power at all? Or is this country run by and for and on behalf of this alleged handful of families who, allegedly, own all of this nation's wealth?

Impose sanctions on Iceland until they stop murdering whales!