U.S. NGO Policy Statement Against Commercial and Scientific Whaling

Improved global cooperation for the conservation of whales is imperative to ensure their survival. After hundreds of years of exploitation, whale populations remain at risk from hunting, ship strikes, by-catch, entanglements, marine pollution, underwater noise and climate change. Given all of these threats, whale populations cannot withstand the resurgence of commercial whaling. In addition, ensuring robust whale populations is critical to restoring the health of the world's oceans.

Therefore, the undersigned Non-Governmental Organizations are unified in our support for the following principles:

Commercial Whaling Has No Place In the 21st Century

  • Under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (the ?ICRW?), the killing of whales for commercial purposes after 1986 is strictly prohibited.
  • Commercial whaling -- the hunting of whales driven by profit -- is distinct from whaling that is conducted to meet aboriginal subsistence needs.
  • The legitimate, non-lethal scientific study of whales can and must be conducted in order to better understand whales and their role in our ocean ecosystem. This does not require the hunting or killing of whales.
  • Killing hundreds of whales under the guise of conducting scientific research, when the actual purpose of killing the whales is to sell their meat in the pursuit of profit, is deceitful and in violation of domestic and international law.

The Convention Must Be Strengthened

  • Effective enforcement of International Whaling Commission (?IWC?) policies and decisions is urgently needed to stop nations that engage in illegal whaling, and to prevent exploitation of any loopholes in the ICRW that are used to avoid the ban on commercial whaling.
  • Non-compliance with IWC policies and decisions must be penalized. Binding dispute resolution mechanisms must be in place to resolve conflicts between members of the IWC.

The U.S. Must Lead the World To End Commercial and Scientific Whaling

  • The U.S. Government is an original sponsor of the commercial whaling ban, and for twenty years has stood firm in its defense. The U.S. must continue to declare and demonstrate its support for the ban at the IWC and other international forums.
  • The U.S. Government must maintain its unequivocal opposition to commercial and scientific whaling because they are inherently cruel, unsustainable and illegal.
  • The U.S. Government must also forcefully work to persuade those nations still conducting commercial and scientific whaling operations to end their hunts.
  • The U.S. Government must persuade those nations that have joined the IWC in recent years to actively support whale conservation rather than any resurgence of commercial whaling, and to support the strengthening of the ICRW.