The Evolution of Whale and Dolphin Conservation Theory and Practice

Humpback whales in Tonga
Humpback whales in Tonga
WDC believes we are seeing a steady progression towards increased protection for whales and dolphins. WDC believes that we need to continue to drive this inexorable story onwards and upwards


Some of the Highlights of the last fifty years

1965 - IWC implements worldwide protection for blue and humpback whales

1972 - US Marine Mammal Protection Act - Stockholm UN Conference on the Human Environment calls for moratorium on whaling

1973 - CITES signed by 167 countries    -   US enacts the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

1978 - New Zealand  Marine Mammals Protection Act

1979 - Indian Ocean Sanctuary was established by the IWC after being proposed by the tiny island nation of the Seychelles in its first meeting as an IWC member.

1980 - IWC bans cold harpoon and holds first workshop on humane killing

1982 - IWC Moratorium decision   -    Berne Convention  -    United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)    -   European Union (EU) bans imports of whale products    -   UN Declaration on Nature

Every form of life is unique, warranting respect regardless of its worth to man, and, to accord other organism such recognition, man must be guided by a moral code" - 1982 UN General Assembly Charter for Nature

1983 - Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

1986 - IWC Moratorium finally implemented

1991 - ASCOBANS enacts prohibition on any 'taking of cetaceans'

1994 - IWC creates Southern Ocean Sanctuary   -   UNCLOS comes into force

1996 - Under pressure Japan agrees to phase out the use of the electric lance in whaling

1997 - Protocol to Amsterdam Treaty provides first ever reference in EC law to non-human animals as 'sentient beings

2001 - ACCOBAMS comes into force

2004 - IWC convenes first meeting of the IWC 'Conservation Committee'

2006 - The Pacific Cetaceans MoU was negotiated under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), in collaboration with the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

2008 - The MoU for Small Cetaceans and Manatees of West African and Macaronesia was signed under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

2010 - Helsinki Declaration of Cetacean Rights

2011 - CMS agrees to convene a workshop on culture and social complexity in cetaceans

Host a workshop to review and provide advice on the impact of the emergent science of cetacean social complexity and culture, as it relates to regional populations and to inform forward decision about CMS conservation priorities”

- CMS Resolution 10.15, which mandates the CMS Aquatic Mammals Working Group (AMWG)

2012 - IWC rejects commercial whaling elements of Greenland's aboriginal subsistence whaling

2014 - CMS passes CMS Resolution 11:23 “Conservation implications of cetacean culture’