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

Climate Consensus

Scientists are warning that if humans don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically and maintain natural carbon sinks like forests within 10 years, the impact on Earth’s climate will be catastrophic.

Big Melt

A thaw over the tip of the planet this year warmed the surface of the North Pole as high as 35 degrees—a once-rare event that has occurred during four of the last five winters.

Sinking City

By factoring in the settling of artificial landfill as water aquifers empty, scientists now estimate that 166 square miles of land around the bay is in jeopardy of being underwater by 2100.

In Vitro Corals

Frustrated by vanishing reefs, scientists are fertilizing coral sperm and eggs in labs and returning them to the wild.

Algae Alchemy

Two Dutch designers are processing live algae into material that can be used for 3-D printing of such items as shampoo bottles and trash bins.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags