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Defend Wildlife and Wildlands

Great news: Iceland has announced that it will suspend its hunting of fin whales this season!

This is a huge victory for fin whales, which are already listed as an endangered species and could very well be hunted to extinction if this senseless slaughter were to continue.

And it’s a victory for BioGems Defenders like you, who came to the fin whale’s defense through your online activism, your donations and your commitment to stopping the hunt.

Since 2006, Iceland has killed 280 fin whales, in violation of the international moratorium on commercial whaling. In 2009, the country even increased its self-allocated fin whale quota to 150 animals per year — more than three times the limit that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) considers sustainable for the species’ survival.

In the last several years, Iceland has exported millions of dollars worth of whale meat, blubber and oil to Japan, Norway, Latvia and Belarus.

With Iceland flouting the ban on whaling, NRDC sprang into action, launching an all-out campaign — headed up by actor and marine mammal activist Pierce Brosnan — that urged President Obama to impose sanctions on Iceland. We generated more than 100,000 messages to the White House.

In September, President Obama responded by imposing diplomatic sanctions on Iceland, stating that Iceland’s actions “undermined multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales.”

Now, in the face of declining demand for whale meat and rising salaries for whalers, Kristjan Loftsson — CEO of Iceland’s only fin whaling company — has called off the hunt for fin whales this season.

This is the second year in a row that fin whales have avoided slaughter in Icelandic waters, but we must remain vigilant. Minke whales are still being killed in Iceland. The country issued itself a quota to kill 216 minke whales in the 2012 season alone.

While the diplomatic sanctions issued by President Obama were an important step, he failed to impose the kind of tough trade sanctions on whaling-connected companies that could stop Iceland’s slaughter of whales forever.

And if Iceland resumes its hunt of endangered fin whales next year, we must stand ready to fight back with a campaign that demands the strongest possible economic measures be imposed — for the sake of fin whale survival.

I hope you’ll take a moment to share this exciting victory with us — a victory that you helped make possible.

Thank you for fighting tirelessly with NRDC to help save the endangered fin whales of Iceland. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Frances Beinecke

P.S. Learn more about our campaign to Stop Whaling Now.


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