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Day 3 at the CITES Standing Committee…

CITES Meeting August 2011

I was a bit late into the conference room in the morning, as I’d had a pre-meeting meeting (such is the nature of these events), with a government delegate who had recently visited Vietnam, and was horrified at the open sale of tiger meat and tiger bone products.

Mary Rice, EIA’s Executive Director was already plugged into the system in the nose-bleed section of the conference hall when I got to my seat, “you’re just in time to pack up your bags”, she said.

Typical! Elephant day (and believe me, they get an entire day to themselves!), at a CITES meeting is guaranteed to bring some kind of drama. And so it was that civil society was voted out of the room, on the pretext that governments needed to discuss “sensitive information” regarding ivory trade.

The delegate from Kuwait, as one of the regional representative of Asia said the majority of the region wanted it (Really? Hmm, read China and Thailand, cos certainly India wasn’t even consulted!). Voting with Kuwait in favour of evicting wildlife, conservation and trade organisations were Botswana, Iran, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Norway. Voting to retain some integrity for the UN and to keep civil society engaged were the UK, DRC, Bulgaria, Ukraine, USA and Australia, abstaining were Egypt, Uganda and Japan

Despite the simple majority vote, the UK put up a brave challenge on behalf of transparency and public participation. But alas there was nothing they could do, and with much shuffling of papers, mutterings of going back to the dark ages, some sideways glances at north London-based EIA to see if we were going to pull our hoods up and kick off, we all trooped out.

Then it was straight on to the phones; a frustrated huddle of NGOs tweeting, facebooking, press releases (much more civilised than throwing shoes / folders / chairs at delegates and facing down rubber bullets). If the intention of the governments that wanted us out of the room had been to prevent civil society, and by extension the media, making a fuss over their flaws, incompetence, corruption and failures to end ivory trade, well then, they rather shot themselves in the foot.

Their actions drew media attention, but more than that, the other CITES Parties quickly realised it was just a ploy and that nothing of a sensitive nature, that wasn’t already in the CITES documents, was being discussed and the record of the meeting would be public.

In fact, it appeared to be a tactic just to get a few of us out of the room so they could bad mouth the ivory investigation findings of EIA and Elephant Family. China apparently complained that we don’t share our information with them and that we’d probably not actually been to China.

Ivory Stockpile


Oh good grief! Yes folks, this is China’s enforcement strategy – rely on NGOs to point out where your problems are, so there’s no need to get off your backside and look for the bad guys yourself. Then whine when those pesky NGOs prefer to expose your incompetence

(insert also, negligence / corruption / complicity), rather than do your job for you.

Fortunately, after the lunch break we were all voted back in, Norway having come to their senses and realising that as signatories to the Aarhus Convention on public access to decision-making, it was a black mark on their record.

Mary used her intervention calling for China’s “approved ivory buyer” status to be revoked to ask the Chair of the meeting if she could also respond to comments reportedly made about the integrity of our work during the closed session. Denied. But the Chair suggested we circulate something in writing instead.

Score! Any government delegates who had never heard of EIA before, now certainly wanted to read our ivory report and our rebuttal. You can find them here (Ivory Report) and here (Criticism rebuttal)

That said, along with other key issues over which we had some well thought-out recommendations and suggestions there was no time available for substantive discussion. Gone are the days when NGO inputs from the floor will be taken into account. The agenda is too big and there are too many people at these Committee meetings, so it’s a “thanks” from the Chair and on to the next agenda item.

It was the same with our “asks” on tigers and other Asian big cats. Prior to the agenda item coming up (which was pushed back to late on the last day of the meeting), key government allies had essentially admitted they were not in a diplomatic position to confront China over their tiger and leopard skin trade, so it would be down to us to play the “bad cops”.


Ranthambore Tiger

So we did, check out our intervention here . We asked China to share with us the status of the registration scheme

  • How many skins have been registered under this scheme?
  • How many have been sold?
  • How many have been sourced from captive bred sources?
  • How many have been sourced from the wild?
  • How has legality been verified?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Resounding silence. Not one of the governments in the room asked them to respond. Nobody said, “Actually, yes, I’d like to know too”. Why can’t China just answer the questions, what’s so difficult about this? Is it because, if they answer the question they’re effectively admitting to the world that they have a legal trade in tiger and leopard skins, which contradicts Premier Wen Jiabao’s promises? Is it because, just as with the ivory trade control system, they really don’t have a handle on what’s going on outside of Beijing but don’t want to admit it?

We won’t give up. Everything that we ask for in the documents we prepared for the meeting with the Wildlife Protection Society of India are still valid and you can read about them here

We’re going to need your help though. Between now and the next CITES Standing Committee in July 2012, we need to make sure that our questions and concerns are raised by governments and the CITES Secretariat. That means you writing to your elected representatives. Get in touch if you want to turn your government into a “good cop”.


What Did Happen at CITES Standing Committee:

The SC headed off a threat from the Asian region to fiddle with the text of the Convention in relation to Introduction from the Sea. It was quite amusing to watch delegates from China and Japan scuttling around the room queueing up their allies to speak in favour of fisheries giants. Foiled.

Ramin is no longer on the agenda, the SC was satisfied with reports from Malaysia and Indonesia that they’re successfully implementing ITTO-CITES projects to prevent illegal logging and trafficking of ramin species.

Thailand has until July 2012 (and the next SC meeting), to demonstrate greater internal trade controls and legislation over their domestic ivory market.

The UK will chair a Rhino Working Group that will identify additional measures that Parties can take to address the illegal rhino horn trade, including enforcement and outreach measures towards consumers.

UNEP and the CITES Secretariat are working with INTERPOL and others to co-host a World Congress of Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability in Brazil immediately prior to the Rio+20 summit in June 2012. Participants will include attorney generals, senior judges and chief prosecutors and is an excellent opportunity to get wildlife crime taken more seriously by the justice system.

The only decision taken in relation to Asian big cats was agreement that the Senior Experts Group of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) should be tasked with reviewing and updating the guidelines for specialised enforcement units.

Efforts to undermine the legitimate listing of commercially valuable marine species were defeated with the SC rejection of a proposal to set up a working group to look at time-bound listings.

Formal summaries can be found here








Debbie Banks

EIA Lead  Campaigner




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It’s the last day of the OEWG and time to take a step back and see what we’ve achieved.

The EIA team hard at work, do we look like we're posing?? Courtesy of IISD.

Many aspects of the negotiations here have been frustrating, and it’s hard not to feel depressed that while India and China are digging their heels in over the HFC phase-down proposals, HFC use in developing countries is skyrocketing. According to the Scientific Assessment Report presentation yesterday by Professor Ravishankara, HFC emissions could represent up to 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and these proposals could save tens of gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions over the coming decades. With frequent warnings that we are heading towards a climatic tipping point, you would have thought that initiatives like these would be welcomed with open arms.

However, while someone I spoke to yesterday qualified progress at these talks as ‘glacial’, it would be wrong to suggest that nothing has moved forward at all. At various stages in the Plenary discussions, negotiators have remarked upon the relatively constructive spirit that has reigned here over the past week. And while some of the bigger developing (or in Montreal Protocol jargon ‘Article 5’) countries have been less than constructive, others such as Georgia have made repeated and energetic interventions supporting an HFC phase-down and acknowledging the intrinsic link between ozone depletion and climate change. The presence of a number of climate ministry representatives is the sign of a subtle but significant shift in attitudes, even among the more recalcitrant countries .

It’s surprising that the link between climate change and ozone depletion is the subject of so much controversy, given the plethora of scientific reports and assessments that have established this.

Having attended last year’s climate conference in Cancun, it’s been a bit surreal to sit here and listen to some delegations defending the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol so forcefully – I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that it would be nice to see that enthusiasm translate to the climate negotiations. With the next Montreal Protocol meeting taking place just prior to the Durban climate talks no one is expecting any ground-breaking progress this year, but we will be looking to the 25th anniversary meeting of the Montreal Protocol in 2012 to see if it really deserves the accolade of the world’s most successful environmental treaty.

For a more detailed report of the proceedings here at OEWG 31, take a look at the IISD website. And just because in the midst of so much serious debate, it’s important to have a bit of light relief, here’s an example of the coffee art we were treated to every morning as we prepared the day ahead. Pas mal, as they say in Quebec.

Coffee Dragon

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A Burning Without the Warmth of Jubilation

Ivory Burning credit Dr. Paula Kahumbu

Almost 10 years ago, EIA investigated the case of more than six tonnes of illegal ivory –­ that’s at least 600 dead elephants ­– seized en route to Japan. It became known as the Singapore Seizure and our subsequent investigations showed it had been only one of 19 which had left the shores of Africa, all heading to Asia and all using the same modus operandi.

To this day, no-one apart from a minor fixer in Singapore has ever been prosecuted, let alone convicted.

Despite a wealth of evidence ­ and the excellent work of a handful of enforcement officers from Zambia, Malawi and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF),­ this case has, along with so many other similar cases across Africa and Asia, foundered. The criminal networks continue to operate with impunity and the illegal ivory trade is thriving and growing.

On Wednesday, July 20, some of the ivory from the 2002 seizure, in the custody of LATF and held in Kenya at the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) training college in Tsavo, was burned in a public statement decrying the growing trade and  increasing numbers of elephants being poached to fuel the burgeoning demand for ivory in Asia, predominantly China. Before lighting the 335 tusks, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki told the crowd: “We wish to firmly demonstrate to the world our determination to eliminate all forms of illegal trade in ivory. Poachers and illegal traders in ivory must know that their days are numbered.”

From my point of view,­ and as one of EIA’s team working on this from the start,­ it was all a rather poignant and disappointing end to the futile demise of so many elephants. 

Poached Elephant © EIA

Disposing of the ivory in this way certainly sends out a clear message about the commitment to tackle illegal trade and ensure that this consignment of ivory never enters any market place, legal or otherwise; it also serves to underline Kenya’s stance that it will not tolerate illegal trade and poaching (although it did not go unnoticed that none of Kenya’s own stockpile made it onto the pyre).

But it is also a sad reminder that no-one was ever punished,­ bearing in mind that it was only one of many shipments that successfully penetrated the permeable borders and under-resourced enforcement agencies tasked with preventing illegal contraband. It can’t have been easy either for the individuals who risked their lives to pursue the case and bring the syndicate to light, some of whom were present for the burning. Their work was eclipsed by the headlines that followed the immediate seizure, and the apathy and filibustering which then dominated the subsequent investigations.

Four years after the seizure, I spoke with the then Director General of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) about the case and it’s status. His view was that it was ‘spilt milk’; it would seem that he was not alone. Now the Singapore Seizure has been consigned to history,­ a cold case,­ and remains the single biggest seizure of  ivory since the ban was implemented in 1989 (although, let’s face it, there have been a couple that have since come pretty close to equalling that dubious accolade). For many, this will be a line drawn, the end of an embarrassing chapter. For the individuals trying to move the case forward – the officers from ZAWA, the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Malawi, and the investigators from LATF – it must be a bitter-sweet outcome. Their efforts, which held so much promise and were a great example of agencies working together across borders to tackle illegal trade in ivory, ultimately came smack up against a brick wall. They did not fail; the system did. Corruption? Lack of resources? Political will? Inadequate penalties? I suspect we will never truly know.

On the positive side, the ZAWA officer who instigated the original investigation that led to the seizure and discovery of the  syndicate was recently appointed Director General of ZAWA. And Kenya has made an unequivocal statement about its stance, supported by the signatory countries to LATF.

At the end of the day, however, it all felt rather hollow. Lots of grand words and ambitious statements, and no celebration whatsoever of the gesture and signal being sent out to the criminal world. I wasn’t present at the last burning of ivory in Kenya, back in 1989, but I understand that the setting of flames was met with cheers, clapping and great jubilation; this burning was instead met with silence and a lot of jostling for position to get the iconic photograph or moving image.

The enforcement message somehow lost in the spin …

Mary Rice

Executive Director

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Trees. Credit EIA

EIA started back in 1984

I’m not someone you’re likely to see a blog from that frequently and this is actually my first since joining EIA in November last year. I’m one of a number of behind the scenes people and my realm is fundraising. Specifically trusts and foundations, which means I get to read about pretty much everything EIA does, and is doing, often before it is published, and use that information to craft written applications to trusts asking for grants. A typical application would be to cover costs of one of EIA’s many groundbreaking investigations, and in a typical week, I’d be working on material across most of the campaign areas. One of the reasons I’ve not entered the blog writing arena before is a feeling of not having all that much to contribute to “front of house” activity, however, Sophia persuaded me by pointing out it doesn’t have to be about trusts fundraising, and it just so happens there is something I felt it was worth me writing about! So here goes….

Rogue Traders: press launch in Jakarta. Credit EIA.

As part of my role I read every report EIA produces and also keep an eye on the feedback. Clearly EIA isn’t there to be a friend to everyone: The environmental criminals, people who are out to make a fast buck at the expense of making a species extinct, won’t appreciate the publicity we give them and that is as it should be. In the course of my work I have noticed a theme of sorts that turns up quite frequently from the disgruntled being exposed or shamed by EIA’s work, and that theme is that “EIA aren’t scientists so these results have no value” An example would be some of the supermarket responses to Chilling Facts. It happens that as well as being a fundraiser I was also a fully fledged, Ph.D carrying, glasses and (sometimes) white coat wearing scientist. Until joining EIA, I had been working as a scientist since the late 90’s, so think I am qualified to comment on this, and as a newish staff member can consider myself to have a little perspective.

So….. EIA isn’t scientific? Lets explore that a bit….

Perhaps they think EIA’s campaigners aren’t as qualified as scientists? Actually, the campaigners have university backgrounds, relevant to their areas of expertise. I’m sure Debbie (Head of tiger campaign) won’t mind me mentioning she has an M.Sc in Wildlife Conservation, that’s post graduate and requiring scientific research skills. So it seems the staff are scientifically qualified, it can’t be that…

Please click on image to see a larger version

Perhaps they are thinking we aren’t publishing in science journals so its not science? Actually sometimes we do, but fair enough, its true, we usually don’t. But EIA’s publications are intended to effect change in governments and inform the public to rally support behind an issue. It would be a little foolish of EIA to put one of its hard hitting investigative reports in the “journal of plankton research”;  it wouldn’t be seen by the people who need to see it. The purpose of publication is primarily peer review, to see if other people agree with what you are saying. Speaking as someone who has been through the science journal publication process I would say that it is far easier to get a paper past the reviewers into the scientific press than to get an entire government to agree with you and change direction. This feat is exactly what EIA has achieved on many occasions: For example, Faith’s recent piece on the VPA signing with Indonesia and the amount of dedicated effort it took to get there… EIA puts the information out there, the governments who see it have their own teams of scientific advisors who will without doubt be going over EIA’s material with a fine tooth comb. You can be sure that in a world where the power of the tweet terrifies the spin doctors witless they won’t put their political reputations on the line to support our findings unless they are 100% convinced of the validity of EIA’s material. Nothing wrong with our peer review process then, sounds pretty scientifically robust to me….

Tiger skin taken on an EIA investigation. Copyright EIAPerhaps they feel that in some way the fact that EIA are Investigators, means they are unscientific? (Mike Hammer, The saint, James bond… etc etc) Well, actually, all science really means is simply to observe and categorise events. It is about the discovery of knowledge, and the answering of questions. Many scientists would and do call themselves investigators, (sometimes great investigators from a certain ego-centric glaciologist I once had as a lecturer in my undergraduate days!) The recording of a scientific experiment uses the precise same skills and methodologies of an undercover investigation. Seems we draw a parallel there too, so that can’t be the reason EIA’s opponents think us unscientific.

All we are left with is that EIA is not a science institute or a university, so how can the results be valid? They have me there. It’s true, EIA isn’t based in a sparkling research centre made out of glass and steel, it doesn’t award degrees or diplomas, but, just a moment, is that where science actually happens? Sorry to say this, but some of the time actually not…. There’s a certain Jewish German chap who people think a lot of, he was famous for mad hair and sticking his tongue out a lot at cameras. He also did a bit of science of course, rather a lot of it actually. The science he did, the discovery he is credited with, that is considered his most important, was made in the dingy attic where he lived, in his spare time in the evenings, whilst working as a humble patent clerk by day. Who am I talking about? The theory was general relativity, his name was Albert Einstein, you may have heard of him….

As it happens EIA’s offices are also in an attic, not particularly dingy perhaps, (though on the very rainy day I’m writing this, not terribly brightly lit, it’s true!). But it’s actually rather homely and is an attic none the less.

The people who try to belittle EIA’s achievements by claiming we are unscientific, couldn’t be further from the truth. We do everything a scientist does, are as qualified, and publish reports that really do change the world for the better. On top of that we do our office work in the same type of quarters as the great Albert Einstein used to craft his world changing theories, what more could you ask for? Perhaps we aren’t about to be an academic threat to folks like Stephen Hawking, but with the continued support of trusts, foundations, and not least our supporters like yourselves, we will continue to be a threat to the environmental criminals, and work to ensure that the world in which future generations learn about Einstein in their school books still contains Tigers, still have forests, and whales, and have coastlines in much the same place as they are today.

Dr Steven Abbott

Senior Fundraiser

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A short film showing the remarkable success of EIA’s 3 year training project in Tanzania. It reveals the fascinating and thought provoking documentaries, produced under the project, that are being used to campaign for social and environmental rights throughout Tanzania.

The Tanzanians in this film and many others have given me an incredible amount of joy and endless inspiration during my time teaching as part of EIA’s 3-year training project. Please take the time to watch their work and understand their lives. I hope you manage to feel a fraction of their warmth, compassion and willingness to learn that I am fortunate enough to have experienced. The project is finishing but this is only the beginning as our partners continue to use their skills and distribute their stories. We have also launched a new website – www.sauti-zetu.org – for our partners to continue to tell their stories to a global audience. So, browse to your hearts content, and keep an eye on further news from EIA’s ground-breaking training networks.

Paul Redman. Credit EIA




Paul Redman

Video Production and Training Co-ordinator


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As regular visitors to this blog will be aware, as part of our Global Environment Campaign, EIA has been fighting an ongoing battle against the illegal trade in ozone depleting substances for many years now.

An unfortunate – yet avoidable – consequence of the global phase out of first CFCs, and now HCFCs, black market trade in ODS has the potential to wreak havoc on the ozone layer. It is the Achilles heel of the Montreal Protocol – the most successful environmental treaty to date – and as such, requires urgent and decisive action.

Our illegal trade investigations have taken us to many far-flung destinations over the years. Few, however as far-flung as Mongolia, a name, which for me at least, had always been endowed with a certain mystique.

Mongolian gers. Credit EIA

Mongolian gers. Credit EIA

However, when it comes to tackling ozone depletion, no country is too remote, which is how, a couple of weeks ago, EIA came to co-host the Summit with the Private Sector on Trade in Ozone Depleting Substances with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Ulaanbaatar.

It seemed fitting that an ozone summit should take place in Mongolia, Land of the Blue Sky, where rather than being an abstraction, the “environment” is central to the country’s national identity. Sandwiched between Russia and China, Mongolia has been subject to a range of foreign influences (as the euphemism goes) over the years – and indeed conquered vast tracts of Central Asia and Europe itself back in the heyday of Genghis Khan.

The gobi desert from the Trans-Siberian railway that connects Moscow with Beijing.

The gobi desert from the Trans-Siberian railway that connects Moscow with Beijing.

Now an independent and fully fledged democracy, Mongolia has been behind some novel initiatives in recent years, including the convening of a Cabinet Meeting on Climate Change, which was held in the Gobi Desert in December 2010. Although a sparsely populated country, deforestation, overgrazing and the depletion of water resources are leading to the expansion of the Gobi at a rapid rate of knots, imperilling the livelihoods of the herders, who still make up around a third of the population. Air pollution is also a huge problem in cities, where coal and wood-burning stoves are used by a majority of the population for heating and cooking. In addition to this, plentiful supplies of raw materials including coal, copper, tungsten, phosphates, nickel, zinc, fluorspar, gold and silver make it an Eldorado for mining companies.

Mongolian customs official checking ODS canister for purity. Credit EIA.

Mongolian customs official checking ODS canister for purity. Credit EIA.

While Mongolia has no domestic production of ozone depleting substances to speak of, its customs officials are well versed in the challenges posed by illegal trade in ODS – as were the many other national officials present at the Summit, hailing from as far afield as Thailand, Malaysia, China and Indonesia. Along with representatives from multinational chemical manufacturers, and international organisations including UNIDO and the World Customs Organisation (WCO), they spent three days discussing how to avert a massive spike in illegal ODS trade as developed and developing countries implement their HCFC phase out – whose differential nature (developed countries are on schedule for a total phase-out by 2020, developing countries have until 2030) only increases the risks of part of the market going underground. The resulting “UB 2.0 Declaration” lists concrete actions to help stamp out illegal trade and will be available online shortly. EIA and UNEP will also be bringing out a Risk Assessment of Illegal Trade in HCFCs within the next few weeks – watch this space for details on both of those.

As mentioned above, illegal trade has been a problem for as long as initiatives to rid the planet of ozone depleting chemicals have existed. At one point, a staggering 20% of trade in CFCs was estimated to be illegal. That’s a sobering figure, but what’s even more sobering is the realisation that with the HCFC phase-out, the problem could turn out to be considerably worse. This is mainly because of the comparatively more rapid pre-baseline increase in developing countries’ consumption of HCFCs, which is currently growing at 15% per annum.

In the past few years, we’ve seen increasing incidences of HCFC smuggling related to the developed country phase out, including high-profile seizures in Florida and evidence of criminal activity in Southern Europe, where it is estimated that up to 10 small ships a day are ferrying small consignments of HCFCs between ports bordering the EU where trade controls are not in place, and ports within the EU where import of virgin HCFC is banned.

Professor Adyasuren Tsokhio, Director of Mongolia’s National Ozone Authority and Mr. Batsuuri Nantsag, State Secretary of Nature, Environment and Tourism listen to Mr. Atul Bagai Senior Regional Coordinator United Nations Environment Program Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Credit EIA

Professor Adyasuren Tsokhio, Director of Mongolia’s National Ozone Authority and Mr. Batsuuri Nantsag, State Secretary of Nature, Environment and Tourism listen to Mr. Atul Bagai Senior Regional Coordinator United Nations Environment Program Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Credit EIA

Not to paint too bleak a picture, there are some great initiatives out there to help stem the flood of illegal ODS trade. One of these – the eccentrically-named “Project Sky Hole Patching II” – deserves a special mention. Originally an initiative of a group of Asia Pacific countries, it led to a total of 26 seizures, amounting to 640 tonnes of ODS and over 600 pieces of equipment containing ODS, over a 6-month period in 2010. Improved cooperation between customs authorities, notably through the “informal prior and informed consent” – or iPIC – system has also proved its worth over the years. However, even ground-breaking initiatives such as these look paltry in the face of a potential tidal wave of illegal ODS trade as the HCFC phase out begins to take hold. It’s time to face up to the fact that illegal trade exists and that we need to do something about it. Fast.

Natasha Hurley

Global Environment Campaigner

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Over the years, your support has made a big difference in EIA’s efforts to save endangered cetaceans from indiscriminate slaughter. Among our accomplishments, we have exposed and reduced the unsustainable Dall’s porpoise hunt in Japanand have reduced the demand for cetacean meat within the country. We would have never been able to do it without your support, so thank you for your generosity.

Donate NowBut whales are not safe yet. Right now, minke whales are under attack off the coasts of Iceland and Iceland is threatening to hunt endangered fin whales later in the year.Iceland’s whalers have grown increasingly bold despite the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, catching 125 endangered fin whales in 2009 and in 2010, that number increased to 148. This year’s hunt quota is 154 fin whales. This is tragically significant since the global fin whale population has declined 70% in the last 80 years.

EIA has conducted an important investigation into the deplorable Icelandic fin whale hunt, and will publish an eye-opening report to be distributed this year at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and internationally.

By making a donation of £10 today, you can help EIA publish this report and be a vital part of our mission to expose the senseless atrocity of the hunt.


Fin Whale caught in Iceland. Credit EIA.

Fin Whale caught in Iceland. Credit EIA.

Shockingly, the revival of fin whale hunting within Iceland has been spearheaded by a single individual, a millionaire businessman with considerable ties toIceland’s most powerful fisheries company. While the country appears indifferent to the issue, he and his fellow whalers paint their activities as an integral part of the national Icelandic tradition.

The truth is that this man is not as concerned with Icelandic tradition as he purports to be. By reviving the Icelandic whaling industry, he hopes to create a valuable new market for whale products in Japan, making considerable profits at the expense of an endangered species.

Whale. Credit Debbie BellIceland is currently in negotiations to join the European Union, and seeking to continue whaling as an EU member. Many people in the Icelandic government are anti-whaling but are not able to address the issue as most of their information regarding the hunt comes straight from the whalers themselves. This lack of transparency is beneficial to the whaling industry and deadly for the whales. EIA has the evidence to inform the Icelandic government about what is really going on.


Investigations by EIA earlier this year year showed that potentially a sizeable market for Icelandic whale products does in fact exist in Japan. However, some of the whale meat from Iceland is discarded once it reaches Japan because of its poor-quality, a saddening thought for those whales that lost their lives to obtain that meat.

What is equally disturbing about the current scenario in Icelandis that minke whale hunters and anti-whaling whale watching trips operate in the same waters. This means that the minke whales whose majestic beauty and grace are admired by curious whale watchers are the same creatures being caught and slaughtered by local whalers.


EIA is the perfect organisation to tackle the whaling problem in Iceland. With our signature investigative approach, we have uncovered the information that the whalers don’t want brought to light. The information contained in our report will be impossible to ignore. The IWC will be forced to take a stand against the brutality of the Icelandic whaling industry.

The aim of our efforts is three-fold:

  • Raise awareness ofIceland’s whaling activity for financial and political ends
  • Obtain a formal statement from the IWC condemning the Icelandic fin whale hunt
  • Put international pressure on Icelandto terminate the fin whale hunt in the country

EIA urgently needs your help. Please donate to our efforts and help us stop whaling in Europe.

Donate by Text todayYours sincerely,

Clare Perry

Head of Cetaceans Campaign

Did you know?

The Fin Whale has been nicknamed the ‘greyhound of the sea’ as it’s one of the fastest cetaceans, reaching up to speeds of 25 mph!

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