Hybrid Whale Meat not for Export

“There are no plans to export the meat,” stated Kristján Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur hf., the Icelandic whaling company that caught a hybrid between a blue whale and a finback in Icelandic waters on July 8th. He was interviewed by mbl.is. Blue whales are a protected species, while finbacks are not.

It is questionable whether exporting the meat of a hybrid would be legal, due to Iceland’s being part of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is an international agreement between governments, the aim of which is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

During its noon news hour, Bylgjan radio quoted officials at Fiskistofa, the Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries, as saying that since Iceland and Japan are parties to the CITES agreement, it is prohibited to export meat from the hybrid, for it would count as the product of an endangered species.

Eyþór Björnsson, head of the Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries, told mbl.is it is not the directorate’s to judge whether it is legal to export the meat. It is, he stated, up to Japanese authorities to make decisions regarding the legality of import of whale meat.

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