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No License to Kill: Pierce Brosnan Speaks out against Icelandic Whaling

Frances Beinecke

Posted August 8, 2011

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Despite the global ban on commercial whaling, Iceland has dramatically increased its slaughter of endangered fin and minke whales in recent years. The nation has killed more than 280 endangered fin whales and 200 minke whales since 2006. 

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Efforts to end this illegal whaling have reached a pivotal moment, and actor and marine mammal activist Pierce Brosnan is helping lead NRDC’s online campaign to galvanize support for firm international action.

NRDC and other groups filed a petition last December to stop Iceland’s renegade whaling.  In response, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke recently certified to President Obama that Iceland is undermining the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission by hunting whales in defiance of the commission's moratorium on commercial whaling.  That certification started the clock ticking on a 60-day period during which President Obama must decide whether to impose sanctions against Iceland under conservation legislation known as the Pelly Amendment to the Fisherman’s Protective Act.

Sanctions would make the critical difference in this fight. In 2004, the United States decried Iceland’s rogue whaling practices, but did not take the official step of imposing sanctions. Since then, the slaughter has only increased.

“We can be sure that Iceland will not end the abhorrent practice of whaling until it is forced to do so,” Brosnan wrote in a message to NRDC members and activists (read his recent post about it here).

Brosnan and NRDC have a long history of joining forces to save the whales. 


Last year, NRDC partnered with Brosnan to sponsor television and newspaper ads opposing a terrible proposal in the International Whaling Commission that would have legitimized commercial whaling for the first time in over two decades.  Brosnan appealed to President Obama, asking him to uphold his campaign pledge to protect the whales.  Our media efforts generated over 100,000 letters of protest from NRDC activists alone – millions worldwide – to President Obama. Thanks to the international uproar, the United States withdrew its support for the proposal and it was not passed at the IWC.

Brosnan also worked tirelessly with NRDC to save Laguna San Ignacio in Baja California from plans by Mitsubishi and Mexico to build the world’s largest industrial salt works around the lagoon – a World Heritage Site, a Bioshere Reserve, a whale sanctuary, and the last undisturbed gray whale nursery.  We mobilized our members, some of the world’s greatest scientists, and an international coalition to oppose the plan and generated over 1 million petitions of protest from citizens around the world.  After the Mexican government decided to cancel plans for the giant salt works in 2000, NRDC has continued to work with groups in Mexico and local communities to secure permanent protection for the lagoon.

After blocking commercial whaling and protecting a critical whaling nursery grounds, we are prepared to end Iceland’s rogue slaughter of endangered marine mammals.

Brosnan and NRDC are now calling on President Obama to impose trade sanctions against Icelandic seafood companies with direct ties to the whaling industry.

“It’s important that President Obama feel a groundswell of public support if he is to take this next historic step,” said Brosnan.

Click here to make your voice heard.    

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Dylan DuPontAug 8 2011 01:02 PM

Stop The Killing

Sharon CrosierAug 8 2011 01:31 PM

I SAY NOOOO!!! STOP THE ILLEGAL KILLING OF WHALES!! Why is Iceland continuing to do this? Why aren't the laws being enforced? I support the trade sanctions against Iceland. Let's make this happen!

Traci BotsfordAug 8 2011 01:39 PM

God please stop this horrible crime against these animals and all of your animal creations. Amen

Lynette McAuliffeAug 8 2011 06:46 PM

This is horrendous! Just yesterday on the news Qld Australian TV Network 10 ...we were shown how it took nearly two days to free a young whale that had beached itself on the Gold Coast....the effort from everyone, civilians and Marine associates together was truly commendable and when it was dragged/released into the sea...there were tears of joy everywhere..according to the Marine biologists.. by the sounds it was making immediately started to call for its Mother! What can we do to stop this slaughter in Iceland?? AVAAZ (internet) website is an international activist organisation set up to "right the wrongs" of this world, normally it is for "human rights" but millions of people support them financially and also for their petitioning to Govts etc...they get incredible results. Is it possible to approach AVAAZ about our "beautiful animal rights" too! We would automatically have an army of people to compliment this petition and many others! Is there someone in this organisation that will put themselves out there....and contact them!

Linda CascioAug 8 2011 09:11 PM

This breaks my heart. God, please protect the whales.

claudia pecolAug 9 2011 05:17 AM

I love you .... mr. Brosnan! It "s a right War save our. Planet many kisses Claudia pecol

Mayur ChapatwalaAug 9 2011 05:34 AM

Mr. Brosnan, You do well. Whales are the treasures of our sea. thank you.

Jana BastekovaAug 9 2011 05:49 AM

it is necessary say to stop this outrageous murder !!!

IcelanderAug 9 2011 05:46 PM

This is hilarious - especially the Americans themselves - how arrogant can they become? Why dont they stop killing whales themselves before start threatening small islands that more or less all their economy depends on fishing - and doing so sustain ably. There is no wonder everything points down that relates to America these days.

cynthia shugartAug 9 2011 10:44 PM

Icelander, I am an American and I agree with you. Unfortunatley in America the left always agrees with a cause that does not affect their livelyhood.

ThorAug 10 2011 06:24 AM

I would like to see Iceland stop whaling, the Icelandic people rarely eat this meat and all we are doing is supporting one company that makes millions of dollars selling to the Japanese seemingly endless desire to eat and destroy everything in our oceans.

However I find it sad that Iceland would be such a target for a celebrity to go after, we are a tiny island so I guess its about going after the little guy. The real bad guy here is Japan, everyone knows this yet no one ever considers sanctions on them.

If you won't do this against Japan, why go after a small island that has been a leader in protecting its fish stocks, researching our ocean wildlife since its responsible for our survival.

Lets by all means end whaling here, I think the tide is slowly turning for the people to push back against the small special interest who run the whaling industry here.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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