News 501 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Update: exported whale meal appears to be fish meal

The Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture has launced an inquiry into the alleged illegal exports of whale products from Iceland based on information from the website of Statistics Iceland.

Regarding the alleged illegal exports of whale meal to Denmark, it has now been confirmed that the two shipments, 775 kilos of meal in January 2009 and 22,750 kilos of meal in March 2009, were fish meal, wrongly quoted in export declarations by the Icelandic exporter as whale meal. Statistics Iceland has confirmed that this will be corrected on their website, effective on 31 March 2010 when revised figures for 2009 will be published. Information regarding this matter will also be conveyed to the Danish Authorities.
In February 2010 the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture was notified that an Icelandic company had shipped 250 kilos of minky whale meat to Latvia along with the required official CITES export certificate from Iceland. Iceland has a stated reservation to Appendix I listing of this species but for international trade voluntarily follows a protocol set out by CITES for Appendix II listing, which requires the export country to issue an export certificate, but does not state any obligation to require an import permit from the importing country.
However the exporter was notified by Icelandic authorities that Latvia had not stated a similar reservation to minky whale listing in CITES Appendix I, and it would therefore be illegal for Latvian authorities to issue the required CITES import certificate for the shipment. The exporter in turn notified the importer in Latvia of the situation.
The Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture has been looking into legal means to ensure that similar incidents can be avoided in the future.

Dick Ziggers

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