Whaling Around the World

There are several nations that kill whales today in flagrant violation of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) ban against commercial whaling. Please visit the following pages to learn more:

Position on Aboriginal Whaling

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is opposed in principle to all whaling by any people, anywhere for any reason.

However, our activities are directed at illegal whaling operations.

The hunting of endangered bowheads by Northern aboriginal people is legal according to the International Whaling Commission. Therefore, there has been no opposition to these practices by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

In 1998 and 1999, Sea Shepherd mounted a major campaign to oppose the killing of whales by the Makah Tribe of Washington state because this tribe did not have approval from the IWC, and therefore, it was not a legitimate whale hunt. Click here to learn about recent developments in the Makah's efforts to kill gray whales.

The killing of bowheads by the Inuit in Canada is illegal because it does not have approval from the IWC. We oppose this hunt.

We do have a concern that aboriginal groups have allied themselves with the Japanese, Norwegians, Icelanders, and Faeroese to promote whaling. The World Council of Whalers (WCW) headquartered on Vancouver Island in Canada was and continues to be funded by Japanese and Norwegian whaling interests. Tom Happynook, the President of the WCW, is employed by the Japanese whaling industry.

What is happening is that aboriginal groups are acting as apologists, propaganda tools, and fronts for commercial Japanese and Norwegian whaling interests. The Japanese have been accused of buying IWC votes from small, whaling nations in an effort to overturn the ban on whaling.


Makah Tribe,
Washington State


Sea Shepherd challenges the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to answer the following question: "Why should whales be killed?" And the same question should be asked of whalers. Their answer would quickly bring the argument to end.

Because the whalers only have a weak argument: Whales should be killed because we have always killed whales. Because we have a cultural and historic "right" to kill them.

And, we know the real answer: Because whalers make a lot of money killing whales.

The slaughter of intelligent creatures is not justifiable on any grounds. Whaling must be permanently outlawed as a matter of international law. As Sea Shepherd has said for years, "There is no will or motivation by the IWC or member countries to enforce the IWC ban on whaling because the countries which should be doing the enforcing are too busy making money at the whales' expense."

In several essays - and in his greatest novel, as he charted the course of Huck Finn across the American cultural landscape - Mark Twain made the point that in every historical epoch there will always be those who will rush to the defense of a morally-indefensible vested interest. Those countries and organizations who seek to compromise with the IWC and in-name-only sanctuaries for whales in exchange for quotas on their killing are doing just that.

Photo Credit Rex Weyler

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