Vanishing Whales

Illegal Hunting Continues to Decimate Species




Whales are still being killed, despite an international ban on commercial whaling. According to Greenpeace, many whale species are down to around 1 percent of their estimated former abundance before the days of commercial whaling.

Fourteen whaling nations came together in 1946 to form the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to manage whale stocks and recommend hunting limits where appropriate, but the continuing decline of populations forced the IWC to call for an outright ban on all commercial whaling in 1986. Yet Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to defy the ban, each harvesting hundreds of whales every year.

Several green groups, including the Natural Resources Development Council (NRDC), recently petitioned the U.S. government to take action against Iceland under the Pelly Amendment to the Fisherman’s Protective Act. “The Amendment allows the president to impose trade sanctions against a country that is ‘diminishing the effectiveness’ of a conservation agreement—in Iceland’s case, the whaling moratorium and another international treaty that prohibits trade in endangered species,” writes the NRDC. The petition names several Icelandic firms—including major seafood companies with ties to the country’s whaling industry—as potential targets for trade sanctions.


To learn more, visit iwcoffice.org, Greenpeace.org and nrdc.org.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Tree Tally

By digitalizing photographs and other museum records, scientists are closing in on the number of tree species left to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest.

Tiny Baubles

As many as 51 trillion particles of discarded plastic lie on the ocean floor, threatening marine life globally.

Landfill Eulogy

Sweden’s waste-to-energy plants are so efficient that it has closed many landfills and actually imports trash to burn from other European countries.

Humpback Holler

Humpback whales that leap out of the water are making a big splash to communicate with distant pods, Australian researchers have found.

Window Pain

As many as one billion migrating birds die annually when they collide with glass windows in the United States.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags