Europe

Since Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2006, Icelandic whalers have killed more than 1,000 whales and plan to kill 2,000 more by 2018. You can help stop the slaughter. Iceland's whaling industry is inextricably linked to its fishing industry. Join the Don't Buy From Icelandic Whalers campaign: avoid purchasing seafood from Icelandic companies tied to whaling.

Background Information

Iceland returned to commercial whaling in 2006. In December 2013, the government of Iceland issued a new five-year quota for fin and minke whales, under which it approved the slaughter of nearly 2,000 whales.

Iceland's domestic market for whale products is small; it exports most of the whale meat and blubber to Japan, defying a global ban on international commercial trade in whale products. Since 2006, more than 5,000 tonnes of fin whale meat and blubber have been shipped to Japan, some of which was used as pet treats.

In Europe, conservation and animal protection organisations have been encouraging the public not to buy fish from whalers, putting pressure on fish suppliers and retailers to ensure they do not source from Icelandic companies linked to whaling.

Iceland's commercial whaling and associated trade is increasingly controversial, given that it is conducted in defiance of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ban on international trade in whale products.

Which Icelandic companies are tied to whaling?

There are direct links between Iceland's whaling industry and powerful elements of Iceland's fishing industry. Fish sourced from whaling-linked companies in Iceland is imported into Europe both directly and through third parties.

Kristján Loftsson, a multi-millionaire and the executive director of the whaling company Hvalur hf, is the force behind Iceland's fin whaling industry, which has killed 551 endangered fin whales since 2006.

A member of the Icelandic delegation to the IWC, he is also chair of the board of HB Grandi, Iceland's largest fishing and seafood export company. HB Grandi has allowed fin whale meat to be processed in one of its facilities, and is tied to the Hvalur company via a complex web of shareholdings. Hvalur is an investment company as well as a whaling company, and its shares in HB Grandi constitute Hvalur's main source of income.

Consumers do not want to buy fish from whalers

A recent poll indicates overwhelming public opposition in Germany and the UK to Iceland's resumption of commercial whaling, with nine out of ten people in both countries stating they disagree with Iceland's decision to resume whaling.

Survey participants were also queried as to their concerns related to seafood purchases from Icelandic fishing companies linked to whaling. More than four out of five people responded that they would be unlikely to purchase seafood products from these companies. In both countries, females were more likely than males to shun products from such companies; nearly 90 per cent of women surveyed in the UK and Germany declared themselves unlikely to buy seafood from companies linked to whaling.

What You Can Do to Help

Please let HB Grandi's CEO know that you are concerned that his company is supporting the slaughter of endangered and internationally protected fin whales. We are also asking for your help in contacting major European companies that are known to buy seafood from HB Grandi: Iceland Seafood International, Marine Harvest, and Deutschesee.

You can send a politely worded email to HB Grandi's CEO, Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, and to the other companies using the email addresses below. You can write your own message, or use the suggested text to include in your emails from the documents linked to each name.

Mr. Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, CEO, HB Grandi, vilhjalmur@hbgrandi.is
Mr. Helgi Anton Eiríksson, CEO, Iceland Seafood International, isi@isiseafood.com
Mr. Hartwig Retzlaff, Managing Director, Deutschesee, info@deutschesee.de
Mr. Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO Marine Harvest, Europe@marineharvest.com

Coalition Partners

Contact: dontbuy@awionline.org

A number of animal welfare and conservation groups have partnered to present this information. All are non-governmental organizations working to end the commercial slaughter of whales.

Animal Welfare Institute CarbonFix Foundation Cetacean Soceity International Dolphin Connection 
Environmental Investigation Agency GreenpeaceInternational Marine Mammal Project 
Natural Resources Defense Council Nantucket Marine Mammal Conservation Program OceanCare Origami Whales Project 
The Whaleman Foundation Whale and Dolphin Conservation World Animal Protection