So when I wrote in "Whats in your Bacon?" I really thought that my first choice 'The Icelandic export statistics are wrong' was the most ridiculous suggestion, simply because Iceland is a rather smart and well run country when it comes to that kind of thing. Seems that Iceland is saying that someone slipped up.
Iceland claimed on Saturday that its exports to Denmark of whalemeal
(Hvalmjöl) was not whale meal and was a simple clerical error, by the fish exporter, twice, over two months apart, and was fishmeal (Fiskimjöl)- honest it was!
Alleged illegal exports of whale products from Iceland
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.
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.
initial reaction is;
At such a politically sensitive time
how can the Icelandic authorities have allowed such a ‘clerical error’
to have occurred?
How did this error occur, not at the data entry
point on the Icelandic statistical site, but by the exporter, and twice,
two months apart?
What understanding do the Icelandic Government
have of EU rules and law that they thought Latvia could import whale
meat? This is the same Government that made a ‘clerical error’ in
exporting twice to Denmark.
How was such a clerical error made
twice? Once is maybe careless, twice is… you tell us. My Icelandic may
not be what it should be, but here are the two words in question,
'Fiskimjöl' and 'Hvalmjöl'. Guess which one means fish and which means
How can we now tell that it was fishmeal? What proof is
there that it was not whalemeal and now has entered the foodchain? Can
the Danish authorities test to prove that it was not whalemeal almost a
year after the exports?
And what were the minke whalers in Iceland
doing exporting? These are the same whalers who stand to be rewarded by
the IWC deal with coastal quotas. Obviously they are gearing up for
export. IWC countries take note! And finally,
Why did it take so
long for such a so-called error to be discovered, and only then by NGOs?
Ministry statement in full