As we have for the past 36 years, we will be at this year's International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting—standing up for whales and ensuring your voice is heard. Greenpeace began attending the IWC in 1976, when the commission was made up of mostly whaling countries. Over the years, Greenpeace has campaigned other countries, such as the UK, USA, France, and New Zealand to join the IWC and become a voice for saving whales.


The IWC was created in 1946 under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). It consists of an international body of 46 countries around the world. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on the conservation and health of whales, the IWC is more complacent towards the whaling industry.

Thanks to the work of Greenpeace and other NGOs, a commercial moratorium on whaling came into effect in 1986. In 1994, the creation of a whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean was passed.

Countries such as Iceland, Norway, and Japan continue to ignore the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, and whale under the clause in the IWC text that allows whaling “for scientific and research purposes.” As a result, tons of unused whale meat ends up in freezers every year.

Standing up for Whales at the 2012 Meeting

The IWC has also been rampant with bribery. The whaling countries bribe small island nations such as Antigua and Barbuda to vote in favor or whaling at the IWC. The IWC has had several forms of corruption over the years, and Greenpeace and other conservation-minded NGOs  expose this corruption and stand up for whales.

We were at the IWC this year, in Panama City, Panama.

Listen to our Oceans campaigners Phil Kline and Milko Schvartzman talk about our campaign:

Unfortunately, the South Atlantic whale sanctuary proposal did not pass, but we will continue to work on IWC reform.

Tell your friends to ask President Obama to lead other nations in IWC reform now.

Read the updates we did here. We're also posted on tumblr .