U.S. President Barack Obama in a letter to Cabinet officials ordered the secretaries of state and commerce to urge Iceland to halt commercial whaling activities.
Obama censured Iceland under the U.S. government's so-called Pelly Amendment. The 1971 amendment to the Fisherman's Protective Act of 1967 gives the president certain discretion when considering threats to fishery conservation programs.
The International Whaling Commission set catch limits for commercial whaling at zero. Iceland was cited in 2004 and again in July by the Commerce Department for conducting whaling activities that diminish the effectiveness of the IWC.
Iceland, Norway and Japan are the only countries that continue commercial whaling. Hayden Panettiere, American actor and spokeswoman for The Whaleman Foundation and its Save the Whales Again! Campaign, applauded the Obama administration for taking "bold" action against Iceland.
"And we urge the president to take similar action against Japan and Norway as well," she said in a statement.