Are Your Fish Sticks Killing Whales?

Boston ad.JPG

Seafood lovers beware: if you buy (or eat) fish sourced from one of Iceland's leading seafood companies, you are unwittingly funding whaling.

NRDC and a coalition of groups are bringing this message to the streets of Boston this week, urging seafood companies at the Seafood Expo North America not to do business with the giant Icelandic seafood company HB Grandi - a company linked to and controlled by Icelandic whaling interests.

Mobile ads displayed outside the Seafood Expo (and at other seafood locations throughout the city) this week ask "Do you know who caught your seafood?" and direct people to, which provides details about 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.

The message is simple: Don't financially support Icelandic whaling by buying fish from HB Grandi.

HB Grandi - Iceland's largest seafood company - plays a very active role in Iceland's whaling industry. Not only does it provide its facilities for the processing of endangered fin whale meat for the export market (to Japan), but it is also controlled by the whaling and investment company Hvalur hf. Hvular is responsible for the death of 551 endangered fin whales since 2006.

Fin whales, known as the "greyhound of the sea" for their sleekness and speed, are the world's second largest animal and listed as an endangered species.

Iceland is one of only three nations that continue to hunt whales for profit, despite a commercial whaling ban put in place by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1982. Iceland has steadily increased its self-allocated whaling quotas in recent years. In 2013, it announced a five-year block quota that could result in the slaughter of almost 2,000 whales, including 770 endangered fin whales.

Last year, the coalition wrote to major U.S. 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 some companies like High Liner Foods and Trader Joe's have pledged their opposition to commercial whaling and confirmed they do not source seafood from HB Grandi, other companies have not responded to our request and may be purchasing seafood from HB Grandi.

For more information and to take action against Icelandic whaling, please visit the coalition website at

Photo courtesy of Guerilla Billboards