the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Memorandum -- Pelly Certification and Icelandic Whaling

MEMORANDUM FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT 

THE SECRETARY OF STATE 

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY 

THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL 

THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR 

THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE 

THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE 

THE SECRETARY OF LABOR 

THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 

THE SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT 

THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION 

THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY 

THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION 

THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 

THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY 

ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OF STAFF 

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION 

AGENCY 

DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET 

UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE 

REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

TO THE UNITED NATIONS 

CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS 

SUBJECT: Pelly Certification and Icelandic Whaling 

On January 31, 2014, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell certified under section 8 of the Fisherman's Protective Act of 1967 (the "Pelly Amendment")(22 U.S.C. 1978), that nationals of Iceland are conducting trade in whale meat and products that diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In her letter, Secretary Jewell expressed her concern for these actions, and I share these concerns. 

To ensure that this issue continues to receive the highest level of attention, and in accordance with an interagency-developed set of recommendations, I direct: (1) relevant departments and agencies to raise concerns with Iceland's trade in whale parts and products in appropriate CITES fora and processes and, in consultation with other international actors, to seek additional measures to reduce such trade and enhance the effectiveness of CITES; (2) relevant senior Administration officials and U.S. delegations meeting with Icelandic officials to raise U.S. objections to commercial whaling and Iceland's ongoing trade in fin whale parts and products and to urge a halt to such action, including immediate notification of this position to the Government of Iceland; (3) the Department of State and other relevant departments and agencies to encourage Iceland to develop and expand measures that increase economic opportunities for the nonlethal uses of whales in Iceland, such as responsible whale watching activities and educational and scientific research activities that contribute to the conservation of whales; (4) the Department of State to re-examine bilateral cooperation projects and, where appropriate, to base U.S. cooperation with Iceland on the Icelandic government changing its whaling policy, abiding by the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling, and not engaging in trade in whale parts and products in a manner that diminishes the effectiveness of CITES; (5) the Department of State to inform the Government of Iceland that the United States will continue to monitor the activities of Icelandic companies that engage in commercial whaling and international trade in whale parts and products; (6) Cabinet secretaries and other senior Administration officials to evaluate the appropriateness of visits to Iceland in light of Iceland's resumption of fin whaling and ongoing trade in fin whale parts and products; and (7) relevant departments and agencies to examine other options for responding to continued whaling by Iceland. 

It is my expectation that departments and agencies make substantive progress implementing the actions outlined above. To this end, within 6 months, I direct departments and agencies to report to me on their actions through the Departments of State, Commerce, and the Interior. 

I believe that continuing focus on Icelandic whaling activities is needed to encourage Iceland to halt commercial whaling and support international conservation efforts. Just as the United States made the transition from a commercial whaling nation to a whale watching nation, we must enhance our engagement with Iceland to facilitate this change. 

BARACK OBAMA