Fish Buyers Urged to Reject Seafood Caught by Icelandic Whalers

Ad campaign aligned with Seafood Expo Global to educate public about whaling-linked products

Brussels, Belgium—A coalition of animal welfare and conservation groups has launched a new online ad campaign to coincide with the 2015 Seafood Exposition Global and Seafood Processing Global convention in Brussels this week, advising consumers and major seafood buyers to be aware of fish “tainted by the blood of whales.”

Among exhibitors at the Seafood Expo Global are several companies that process and/or sell whale meat, or are tied by shareholdings to whaling companies, including Icelandic seafood giant HB Grandi.

“Opinion polls in Europe have shown that more than 80 percent of the public do not wish to buy seafood from companies associated with whaling,” said Susan Millward, executive director of the Animal Welfare Institute.

Jennifer Lonsdale, director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, added, “Kristján Loftsson, CEO of the Hvalur whaling company, is the driving force behind Iceland’s fin whaling industry, which has killed 551 endangered fin whales since 2006. It is disappointing that HB Grandi shareholders missed an opportunity earlier this month to distance the company from whaling when they re-elected Loftsson as Chairman of the Board.”

Sigrid Lueber, founder and president of OceanCare, urged seafood buyers at the Expo who have not yet joined the dozens of companies that have already pledged not to buy from whalers to “keep in mind that by putting money into the pockets of whalers you are helping to keep alive an industry that is both cruel and unnecessary.”

Vanessa Williams-Grey, whaling campaigner at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said, “We ask those companies or consumers reluctant to look for an alternative to HB Grandi products to remember the suffering of the whales. They have no choice—you do.”

Seafood Expo Global runs from April 21-23, 2015 and is expected to attract 30,000 participants from 140 countries.

The coalition is encouraging retailers to conduct an audit of their seafood supply chains to ensure the public they do not source seafood from individuals, vessels or companies linked to whaling—including fish from third party agents and/or processors.


Media Contact:
Amey Owen, 202-446-2128,

About the Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home and in the wild.

About the Environmental Investigation Agency
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington, DC-based non-governmental organization that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.

About OceanCare
OceanCare is a Swiss non-profit organization. It was founded in 1989 and has a strong commitment to realistic and cooperative initiatives. The association works at national and international level in the areas of marine pollution, environmental changes, fisheries, whaling, sealing, captivity of marine mammals and public education.

About Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is the leading global charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins, defending them against the many threats they face through campaigns, lobbying, advising governments, conservation projects, field research and rescue. Its vision is a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free.

1. Iceland is one of only three nations that continue to engage in commercial whaling, in defiance of a moratorium imposed by the International Whaling Commission.

2. In September 2014, the EU and several governments issued a diplomatic protest declaring their opposition to the fact that the Icelandic Government still permits commercial whaling, in particular the hunting of fin whales and the subsequent trading of fin whale products.

3. HB Grandi, one of Iceland’s largest seafood companies, plays a very active role in Iceland’s whaling industry. In 2014, 137 endangered fin whales were killed by the Icelandic whaling company Hvalur and processed at an HB Grandi facility in Akranes, Iceland.

4. Hampiðjan, a fishing gear company exhibiting at Seafood Processing Global that is also linked to Kristján Loftsson, supplies Dynex ropes used as trigger lines attached to the exploding grenade harpoon used to kill the fin whales.

5. Other whaling-linked exhibitors at Seafood Expo Global include Hopen Fisk & Sild, a Norwegian company actively involved in whale meat processing and sales. Another Norwegian company, Lofotprodukt AS, sells whale meat and was involved in the development of whale meat products such as Vestfjordskinka, a whale-meat “ham.”

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