"Obama Warns Iceland on Whaling Activity"

"In a move hailed by conservation activists, President Barack Obama initiated potential diplomatic sanctions against Iceland this week for its commercial whaling activity. The sanctions include six measures ranging from possibly limiting cabinet-level visits to Iceland to limiting cooperation with Iceland in the Arctic region."

"While such sanctions might seem mild to some, for environmentalists it was akin to throwing down the gauntlet, diplomatically speaking. “This is a real shot across the bow,” said Patrick Ramage, global whale program director with the International Fund for Animal Welfare

The disagreement has its roots in a decision by Iceland to resume commercial whale hunting in 2006. In subsequent years the annual number of endangered fin whales killed by Icelandic fleets for whale-meat exports to Japan has risen from 7 to 148.

In a letter sent to Congress on Wednesday night, the president said that such activities “diminish the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission conservation program” and could result in sanctions."

Leslie Kaufman reports for the New York Times' Green blog September 16, 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011