Whaling Politics: U.S. and Iceland

One of the more common questions fielded in the Whaling Museum is “Who’s hunting whales now?’ Part of the response must include reference to the voluntary moratorium reached by the International Whaling Commission in 1983 and put into action entirely by 1986. One of the two countries hunting whales in direct defiance of that moratorium is Iceland.

Recently, President Obama, at the direction of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which was following the guidelines of the 1967 Pelly Amendment, directed U.S. officials and delegates to confront their Icelandic counterparts over their country’s hunting of endangered fin whales in 2009 and 2010. Iceland responded with the veiled threat of a negative vote the next time the Subsistence Hunting quota comes up for vote at the IWC meeting. (author’s comment: there is no comparison between commercial hunting and subsistence hunting, and no comparison between the small quota given to the Inupiat and the number of whales killed by Icelandic ships)

The full story can be found at Courthouse News Service.

A map of who’s hunting, where they’re hunting, the species they’re targeting, and a timeline of international protections can both be found in the Whaling Museum’s The Hunt for Knowledge gallery.

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