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President Obama Forgoes Sanctions over Iceland Whaling

In response to President Obama’s decision to not impose economic sanctions against Iceland for illegal whaling operations and international trade of whale meat, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Leigh Henry, senior policy advisor for wildlife conservation:

“President Obama has missed an important opportunity to demonstrate his willingness to enforce international agreements on wildlife trade and halt Iceland’s continued killing of endangered fin whales. This is the third time the U.S. government has declared Iceland in violation of such agreements and failed to hold them accountable. Given the administration’s leadership on combatting wildlife crime, WWF had hoped President Obama would take decisive action to end Iceland's illegal whaling by imposing targeted economic sanctions. We are disappointed by today’s announcement.

“Three years ago, the president said he would consider strong action if Iceland resumed its hunt of fin whales. The hunt resumed, and – in the absence of such action – the 2014 whaling season has now begun. Iceland once again plans to hunt this endangered species, which undermines international efforts to conserve them.

“When countries such as the United States decline to enforce international agreements on commercial whaling and wildlife trade, the effectiveness of those agreements is significantly weakened. In light of the president’s recent Executive Order and the new U.S. government strategy on combatting wildlife trafficking, we encourage the Administration to take strong steps to ensure that these agreements have teeth.”

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