Conservation or Compromise? Whaling Commission Meets at Crossroads

Monday, 23 June, 2008
Santiago, Chile
The fate of the world’s whales and the future of the International Whaling Commission hang in the balance as delegates from 81 nations gather for the 60th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The commission has been deadlocked in recent years as the last three nations engaged in whaling for commercial purposes, Japan, Iceland and Norway, have fought to block conservation measures in the forum. 
Conservationists worldwide, including experts with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (, expressed concern that a compromise might be agreed that would overturn the moratorium and legitimize commercial whaling.  “The IWC agreed to end commercial whaling in 1986,”said Patrick Ramage, IFAW global whale program director. “This is not the time to compromise that decision.  Whales face more threats today than at any time in history.   IWC member countries should pull themselves together and end commercial whaling once and for all.”
Japan has killed more than 15,000 whales since 1986, most in an internationally recognized whale sanctuary around Antarctica.  Norway has killed more than 8,000 whales over the same period.  After a 16 year hiatus, Iceland returned to commercial whaling in 2003 and earlier this month announced it had shipped whale meat to Japan, the first such international trade for more than a decade.
Since the global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986:        
  • More than 30,000 whales have been killed for commercial purposes.        
  • The IWC has repeatedly passed resolutions calling on Japan to end its scientific whaling program.
  • International panels of legal experts have found Japan’s whaling to be unlawful.

For more information on whaling and how to help protect whales visit Watch video updates from the IWC meeting by IFAW’s Patrick Ramage on and on at

Post a comment

Press Contact

Jake Levenson (IFAW, Headquarters)
Contact phone:
Contact email:


Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation