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Taryn Kiekow Heimer’s Blog

Hey, Seafood Investors - Do You Know Who Caught Your Fish? Don't Buy From Icelandic Whalers!

Taryn Kiekow Heimer

Posted May 20, 2014 in Reviving the World's Oceans, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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The IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum opens today in New York City. In connection with the event, NRDC and other groups are urging seafood companies and investors not to do business with the giant Icelandic seafood company HB Grandi – a company linked to and controlled by Icelandic whaling interests. 

Advertisements on telephone kiosks near the event feature an image of a whale and pose a question: “Do you know who caught your seafood?” The ads are intended to inform the public generally (and seafood investors specifically) that their seafood purchases may inadvertently contribute to the killing of whales and also include the coalition website address DontBuyFromIcelandicWhalers.com, which provides details of the Icelandic companies that hunt—or are linked to those that hunt—hundreds of whales each year in defiance of an international ban against commercial whaling.

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The IntraFish Forum – which opens today at midtown Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel – brings together top executives from many of the world’s largest seafood companies, as well as key investors in the seafood industry. The giant multi-national company Marine Harvest, which is known to have purchased seafood from HB Grandi and/or its subsidiaries in recent years, is among this year’s participants at the forum.

Our message to the forum is simple: Don’t buy from HB Grandi.  HB Grandi –Iceland’s largest seafood company – is controlled by the whaling and investment company Hvalur hf. Hvular plans to kill 770 endangered fin whales over the next five years and sell the meat and blubber to Japan. Fin whales are the world’s second largest animal and listed as an endangered species.  Sadly, the whales are hunted in Iceland predominately for export to the Japanese market.

In March, the coalition wrote to major US wholesalers and retailers that source Icelandic seafood, urging them to audit their supply chain in order to reassure the public that they are not buying fish from companies linked to whaling. (Click here to read my blog.)

While High Liner Foods and Whole Foods Market have indicated that they will not proceed with contracts with Hvalur-linked companies until commercial whaling in Iceland ends and both High Liner Foods and Trader Joe’s have pledged their opposition to commercial whaling, many other companies, including Target, Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Fresh and Easy, and United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), have failed to respond to the coalition’s request. UNFI, the largest wholesale organic/natural distribution company in the United States, features fish products from Legacy Seafood, known to import from HB Grandi.

For more information, please visit the coalition website at DontBuyFromIcelandicWhalers.com.

Photo courtesy of Kate O'Connell, AWI

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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 NRDC.org.

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