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The World's Whalers


 
Japan - (Commercial) Research Whaling
 
Japan's government funds annual pelagic whaling operations in the North Pacific and Southern Oceans. The whalers kill endangered and non-endangered species under the guise of research to undermine an international whaling moratorium.
 
Japan also imports endangered Fin whale meat from Iceland and Minke whale meat from Norway.

 
Japan - (Small Type) Commercial Whaling
 
Up to 20,000 small cetaceans are killed annually, including beaked whales, and Dall's porpoises. Dolphin drive hunts in Taiji are the focus of the documentary film, 'The Cove'.
 
Dolphin meat is sold for domestic consumption despite mercury contamination. Some dolphins are captured alive for sale to marine entertainment parks.

 
Iceland - Commercial Whaling
 
Iceland gave up whaling in 1989 under international pressure from boycotts to threats of sanctions. However, by 2003 Iceland was hunting whales once again.
 
One company, Hvalur hf, annually kills endangered Fin whales to export meat to Japan. Several other companies in Iceland hunt Minke whales for domestic meat production.

 
Norway - Commercial Whaling
 
Norway officially objects to the moratorium on commercial whaling. Hundreds of common Minke whales are killed annually by Norwegian whalers for domestic meat production and export.
 
The government continues to increase the size of its self-issued quotas despite shrinking domestic interest.

 
South Korea - (Commercial) Bycatch Whaling
 
Commercial whaling is illegal in South Korea. However, whales that are caught as bycatch can be processed for sale in domestic markets.
 
The government recently raised the possibility of a research program similar to Japan but abandoned the proposal due to international opposition.

 
Greenland - (Commercial) Aboriginal Whaling
 
Inuit communities of Greenland hunt several species of large whales in limited numbers for nutritional 'subsistence'. They also hunt small cetaceans like Narwhals and Belugas.
 
Investigation revealed the meat was sold for commercial profit. Greenland is represented by Denmark at the IWC, which denied renewal of the aboriginal whaling quota.

 
Faroe Islands (Denmark) - Drive Hunting
 
Residents of the Faroe Islands annually round up and slaughter pilot whales in a ritual called Grindadráp. The meat and blubber is distributed among participants.
 
Faroese doctors have declared pilot whale meat to be unsafe for human consumption due to the levels of toxic chemicals and metals in the body tissues of cetaceans.

 
Peru - Poaching
 
Off the coast of Peru fishermen kill as many as 15,000 dolphins (estimated) annually although the practice is illegal.
 
The oily meat from these dolphins is then used as bait to catch sharks. The sharks are prized for their fins which are destined for export to foreign markets.

 
Taiwan - Poaching
 
Dolphins have been protected by law in Taiwan since 1989 but illegal killing of dolphins and black market trade of dolphin meat continues.
 
It is estimated up to 1,000 dolphins are killed and sold annually by fishermen. In 2013 authorities seized 7.5 tons of illegal dolphin meat in a single warehouse.

 
Amazon (Brazil, and more) - Poaching
 
Fishermen in Brazil and neighboring countries continue to illegally kill rare Amazon river dolphins (also called Boto).
 
The oily meat from these dolphins is then used as bait to catch fish which are profitable for domestic sale and export.

 
Brahmaputra & Ganges (India, and more) - Poaching
 
Fishermen in India and neighboring Bangladesh continue to illegally kill endangered Gangetic river dolphins.
 
The oil extracted from these dolphins is then poured into the water to attract and catch fish which are profitable for domestic sale.

 
Fanalei (Solomon Islands) - Aboriginal Whaling
 
The village of Fanalei is known for killing dolphins. Although the meat is consumed locally, some dolphins are captured live for export, and teeth are used like a form of currency.
 
Earth Island Institute briefly arranged an agreement to halt the slaughter in exchange for monetary compensation. However, the village leaders later backed out of the deal.

 
Alaska (United States) - Aboriginal Whaling
 
Inupiat of Alaska are permited to hunt Bowhead whales in limited numbers for nutritional 'subsistence'. They also hunt small cetaceans like Belugas. The meat and blubber is distributed within the native communities.
 
The USA is sometimes forced to make concessions at the IWC to renew aboriginal whaling quotas.

 
Nunavut (Canada) - (Commercial) Aboriginal Whaling
 
Canada unilaterally ceased commercial whaling and later left the IWC in 1981. Today Inuit whalers have quotas set by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
 
Inuit communities hunt Bowhead whales in limited numbers as well as Belugas and Narwhals. The meat is sometimes sold in northern shops and ivory is exported.

 
Chukotka (Russia) - Aboriginal Whaling
 
The Yupik and Chukchi people of Chukotka hunt Bowhead and Gray whales for nutritional "subsistence". They also hunt small cetaceans like Belugas.
 
About 10-12 percent of the Gray whales are called 'stinky whales' due to an overwhelming odor which makes them unpalatable. The cause is still unknown.

 
Bequia (Grenadines) - Aboriginal Whaling
 
Although the original Bequians disappeared long ago, a few descendents of the Arawak people and African slaves continue to use old Yankee whaling techniques introduced in the 1850s.
 
Only one or two Humpback whales are killed annually. The meat is distributed and sold within the island community.

 
Lamalera (Indonesia) - Aboriginal Whaling
 
The village of Lamalera, on the island of Lembata, continues a tradition of whaling. From wooden open boats the whalers use hand held harpoons to kill Sperm whales and other smaller cetaceans.
 
The whale meat is distributed in the village and bartered with neighboring communities for other goods.

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