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Cablegate: Us Participation in Joint Demarche to Iceland On

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #9783 2712205
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZDS
P 242122Z SEP 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHRK/AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK PRIORITY 9759-9760
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 5874-5875

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 099783

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 099783

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

2ND C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDED SIPDIS, PORTION MARKINGS-
PARA'S 1, 5 & 6 AND TEXT)
COMMERCE PASS TO NOAA (MEDINA)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/25/2019
TAGS: EFIS IC KSCA PGOV SENV IWC
SUBJECT: US PARTICIPATION IN JOINT DEMARCHE TO ICELAND ON
ITS WHALING ACTIVITIES

Classified By: OES/OPA, Evan Bloom for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: This is an action request. Post is requested
TO participate in a joint demarche to the Government of Iceland
concerning their recent decisions regarding whaling
activities. The text of the demarche is contained in
paragraph 5. The United Kingdom has agreed to lead the
demarche, and is joined by the governments of Argentina,
Australia, Austria, Chile, the Czech Republic, Ecuador,
Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg,
Mexico, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Peru,
Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United States and Uruguay. The
demarche is meant to encourage the GOI to review its policies
towards whaling and whale conservation, and take into account
the significant economic and social benefits that come from
the whale watching industry, as well as welcome the GOI's
participation in discussions on the Future of the
International Whaling Commission (IWC).

BACKGROUND:

2. (SBU) The GOI government issued a whaling quota of 150
fin and 200 minke whales for the 2009/2010 whaling season
this spring. This quota is based on the scientific advice
provided by the Icelandic Marine Research Institute. As of
September 15, 2009, Iceland has taken 117 fin whales and 70
minke whales. All expectations are that by the end of the
whaling season, the fin whale quota will be met. This
represents a very signficicant increase in whaling activity
by Iceland. Since resuming commercial whaling activities in
2006, Iceland had harvested 45 minke whales and 7 fin whales
total prior to this season. It is important to note that fin
whale is not largely consumed in Iceland. Therefore it is
speculated that this large fin whale harvest will be exported
to Japan (note: there are several non-governmental
organizations who believe that the Japanese market is
currently saturated by Japan's own whaling activities).

3. (C) It is widely thought within the IWC community that,
as a condition to joining the European Union, Iceland will
need to end commercial whaling activities. Many speculate
that the dramatic increase in whaling operations this season
is one last effort to whale before this decision is made.
Alternative views are that the whaling industry is
demonstrating its capability to discourage EU membership. The
GOI has commissioned a study to review all economic benefits
that surround whale conservation and the whaling industry,
including whale watching.

4. (SBU) The United States is a leader within the
International Whaling Commission, and is committed to
resolving the discord that has paralyzed the organization for
decades. We remain committed to the Future of the IWC
process, and are looking forward to the Support Group to be
held in Santiago, October 5-16, 2009. We are approaching
this Support Group meeting with flexibility in mind, and
encouraging all participants of the Support Group, including
Iceland, to do the same.

DEMARCHE TEXT:

5. (SBU) the Governments of Argentina, Australia, Austria,
Chile, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany,
Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, The Netherlands,
New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the
United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay, wish to
express our support for the Government of Iceland's decision
to review and reassess its position on the hunting of whales.

We are deeply disappointed with the former Icelandic
Government's decision to authorize the hunting of fin and
minke whales over the next five years on 27 January 2009.
The authorization was put in place without presentation to
the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and without regard
for the long-term interests of cetacean conservation. We
further note that the Icelandic marine Research Institute
recommended in June an increased quota of up to 200 fin and
200 minke whales for the 2009/2010 season and that almost 200
whales have been killed so far.

We encourage the Government of Iceland to adhere to the
internationally agreed moratorium on commercial whaling and
to re-examine the decision to increase its fin and minke
whale quota.

Both species are listed under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES) Appendix I and we remain extremely concerned
with Iceland's reservation, entered in 2000, for these and
other cetacean species. We urge Iceland to withdraw this
reservation and safeguard these species from international
trade.
We recognize the conservation efforts made by Iceland in
other international agreements and hope the Icelandic
Government will be able to extend this stance to fully
support global efforts for cetacean conservation.
Furthermore, we would like to draw attention to the
considerable economic, social and educational benefits of
Iceland's growing whale watching industry and share our
strong endorsement of the Icelandic Governments plans to
designate specific ocean areas for whale watching. We hope
this action will reinforce Iceland's commitment, as a member
of the Support Group, to the future of the IWC discussions on
the management and conservation of all whale species.

In summary, we support the Icelandic Government's decision to
reassess its position on commercial whaling and once again
call upon Iceland to respect the IWC's global moratorium and
end its commercial whaling.

6. (SBU) The Department greatly appreciate's post assistance
IN this matter. OES/OPA point of contact on this matter is
Elizabeth Phelps, reachable on unclass email at
phelpse@state.gov, class email at phelpse@state.sgov.gov, or
phone at 202-647-0241.
CLINTON

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