Stop Whaling Campaign
Both commercial whaling and international trade in whale products are currently banned. However, Japan, Norway and Iceland, together kill over 2000 whales each year and are expanding their international trade in whale products.
In 2010, a number of governments represented at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) supported a proposal that would have lifted the ban on commercial whaling by granting Japan legal commercial whaling quotas in its coastal waters in return for voluntarily reducing its controversial ‘scientific’ whaling in Antarctica.
If adopted, this deal would have opened the floodgates for other countries to restart or expand their own whaling. WDCS called for the rejection of the deal as unworkable, unenforceable and dangerous for the conservation of whales. Thankfully, there was not enough support for the proposal and it was not put to a vote....for now.
Any resumption of sanctioned commercial whaling would have disastrous. The long and infamous history of commercial whaling has demonstrated that it is impossible to ensure that hunts are properly regulated, sustainable and humane. Even after 60 years of research, restrictions by the IWC and huge public interest, there remains:
- no humane way to kill a whale at sea
- no mechanism (that the whaling nations are willing to accept) to ensure compliance with effective regulations
- no scientific certainty about the ability of whale populations to withstand hunting in the face of growing environmental threats including climate change.
Norway, Iceland and Japan are not the only countries voting in favour of whaling at the IWC. For years, Japan has been recruiting countries with no obvious interest in whaling to join the IWC and vote in its favour, using development aid as an incentive. In addition, many countries that were once firmly opposed to commercial whaling have felt pressured by Japan’s ever expanding whale hunts to make a compromise that will be dangerous for whale conservation.
To find out more about whaling, read our briefings below: