Efforts to reverse the decline of the whale species began in 1946 with the establishment of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). It unsuccessfully attempted to protect whales by setting sustainable whaling quotas. However, 66,000 whales were taken in 1962 alone, and by 1982 the Commission realized a total moratorium on whaling was needed to prevent the extinction of this majestic species. About 32,000 whales have been killed since 1986 and at least 1,500 whales are killed worldwide each year. The IWC moratorium compliance is voluntary and Japan, Norway and Iceland harvest whales under a â€œscientific studyâ€ loophole. These nations claim to kill only whales that are relatively plentiful such as the Minke whale. However, whaling opponents claim whale meat tested in Japan’s fish markets reveal DNA of several whale species banned for any type of â€œtakeâ€ including Blue, Humpback and Fin whales. Opponents say that since prohibited whale meat is sold in its restaurants, Japanâ€™s research whaling program is actually commercial whaling in disguise. However, there are indications the efforts of anti-whaling protesters are having an effect on this industry. Japanâ€™s commercial whale-meat market has crashed and when Australia filed charges against Japanâ€™s whaling practices in The Hague International Court of Justice in the Netherlands, the Court found Japan’s Southern Ocean whale hunt to be illegal under international law. Advocates say this decision was a pivotal moment in the history of the IWC. Ironically, whale-watching has become a thriving industry accounting for $1 billion in annual revenue in 87 countries. This, and designated sanctuaries including those in the Indian and Southern Oceans, have had a positive effect on whale populations. Marine sanctuaries, off-limits to whaling, are places of refuge where whales can feed and breed, and where non-lethal scientific research can be done. President Obama has recently proposed doubling the size of the Pacific Ocean sanctuary, protecting this huge area from fishing and other environmentally harmful human activities.
Pending Legislation: None
I oppose reforming current whaling policy
I support establishing a national whale conservation endowment fund to be used to support research, management activities, or educational programs that contribute to the protection, conservation, or recovery of whale populations in U.S. waters, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce S.2172 – National Whale Conservation Fund Act of 1998 (105th Congress 1997-1998)
I support efforts, including financial aid, to organizations that will reduce or eliminate whaling worldwide