Saturday 14 January 2012

Icelandic souvenir in bad taste

In November 2011 tourists departing Iceland’s Keflavik international airport found a new item among the souvenirs on offer; packaged whale meat.

It is not known whether the idea was a means of boosting declining domestic sales, an effort to deplete Iceland’s growing stockpile of frozen whale meat or a ploy to lure unsuspecting foreigners into unknowingly contravening the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) ban on whale products.

As is the case in Australia, the importation of whale meat into the UK and other CITES signatory countries is illegal. Once advised of the situation the UK Foreign Office posted an online travel advisory notice:

Whale meat is available in Iceland but tourists should be aware that its importation into the UK/EU is illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Any importation of whale meat to the UK will result in seizure of the goods, possibly a fine of up to £5,000 and a custodial sentence

By the following day the whale meat had been withdrawn from sale.


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