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Majority of Icelandic people think whaling harms their country’s reputation

A survey of Icelandic people has confirmed that the majority believe whaling damages Iceland's reputation. ...
A magnificent sei whale © Christopher Swann

Japan Begins Commercial Whaling Season

Sei whale © Christopher Swann Japanese whalers have left port to begin this year's annual...

Pumps and conveyor belts. How could more whales help save us?

University of Alaska Fairbanks Master's student, Dana Bloch, retrieves a CTD that is used to...
Humpback whales in Alaska

Pumps and conveyor belts. How could more whales help save us?

We are excited to announce backing for two ground-breaking research projects to assess the little...

New Japanese whale hunting plan rejected by experts

Experts representing the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the organisation that regulates whale hunting) have rejected Japan’s latest plan to resume its so-called scientific whale hunts in the Southern Ocean.

In March last year, the International Court of Justice (the highest court of the United Nations) banned Japanese scientific hunts in the Antarctic, criticising their scientific value. The court decided that the hunts were nothing more than commercial whaling (banned in 1986) masquerading as science and so ordered them to stop.

Since then, Japanese officials have been working on a revised whaling programme (known as Newrep-A) in an attempt to start the hunts again. However, their plans have suffered a setback after the report by International Whaling Commission experts said its latest proposal offered no scientific justification for the slaughter. The panel said Japan’s newly revised research hunt programme, did not contain enough information for experts to determine whether Japan needed to kill whales for scientific purposes. Much of the meat from Japan’s previous scientific hunts has been made available for sale to the public. 

As a result of the international court ban on Japan’s ‘scientific’ hunts in the Antarctic, last year’s IWC meeting ended with a resolution stating no special permits for killing whales under new or existing research programmes could be issued until reviewed and accepted by the Commission itself. If Japan goes against this IWC agreement, and the court ban, by returning to the Southern Ocean this year, it could  be in contempt of the court.