In October last year, Iceland provoked an international outcry by permitting the catch of nine endangered fin whales and 30 minke whales, thus infringing the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 ban.
Today, three months on, the meat from the catch — over 100 tones — is still lying unsold in a Reykjavik freezing. The reason for this is that firms first have to test the meat for dangerous chemicals to ensure it matches food industry standards.
Iceland’s Fisheries Minister Einar Gudfinnsson has told Reuters that the country still expects to find buyers for the meat and that the delay in selling it will not alter the decision to reallow whale hunting.
‘The arguments, supporting sustainable whaling, have not changed,’ he commented, ‘and the decision was made in accordance with Icelandic and international laws.’
He added that there are no laws or regulations in Japan, where Iceland hopes to sell it stock, to prevent the import of whale meat.