After the ban, whaling continues

A minke whale is hauled aboard a whaling ship

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the body responsible for managing whaling.

The IWC regulates the whaling industry and acts to conserve whale populations. The ban was introduced because some species were in danger of being wiped out.

The IWC has nearly 90 member countries, including the UK. But three member nations – Norway, Iceland and Japan – have lodged objections to the ban and continue to whale commercially.


WSPA wants the IWC to maintain the whaling ban to protect the welfare of the world’s whales.

Why do some countries still hunt whales?

Norway and Japan will kill around 2,500 whales this year. Some will die instantly but many hundreds will suffer long and inhumane deaths.

Their meat and blubber is processed for human consumption. Other parts of the whale are turned into pet food, animal feed or simply thrown away.

  • Norway currently (2008) allows 1,052 minke whales to be hunted commercially for meat each year. Norway has killed over 8,100 whales since the whaling ban began.
  • Japan currently (2008) kills 1,415 great whales from six species each year, for ‘scientific research’. The IWC has condemned this as unnecessary and called on Japan to stop their hunts in over 20 separate Resolutions.
  • Iceland killed 200 minke whales between 2003 and 2007 for 'scientific' purposes.

Working with the IWC

IWC members meet every year. WSPA uses diplomacy, education and public campaigning to raise whale welfare up the agenda. 

Your support is helping us show whaling nations and the IWC that whale welfare is important to the public.


UN FSRB
WSPA