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Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

IELP targets Iceland’s whaling and whale meat trade in Pelly Petition

February 10, 2014

  • Fin whale: image from wikimedia commons

Lewis & Clark’s International Environmental Law Project (IELP) legal analysis has led the U.S. government to certify that Iceland’s whaling and whale meat trade are diminishing the effectiveness of international environmental treaties. Because of IELP’s expertise in both international wildlife law and trade law, IELP is regularly hired as lead counsel on such petitions, known as “Pelly Petitions.” In the case of Iceland, IELP argued that Iceland’s killing of fin whales, an endangered species, diminishes the effectiveness of the International Whaling commission, which prohibits commercial whaling. Iceland killed 134 fin whales in 2013 and plans to kill 770 fin whales over the next 5 years. IELP also argued that trading the whale meat to Japan diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which prohibits commercial trade in whale products. This certification now gives President Obama 60 days to determine whether to impose trade sanctions or adopt other responses.