Archived Project

Pew Whale Conservation Project


IWC member states have agreed that fundamental reforms are urgently needed to address whaling and a host of other threats to whales, such as climate change, pollution and ship strikes. They have not, however, agreed on how to do this.

To stop the killing of whales in the world’s oceans, and to ensure the enforceability of international measures aimed at protecting them,  Pew worked to:

  • Reverse the momentum that pro-whaling nations gained in weakening the international moratorium on commercial whaling.
  • Foster a network of nongovernmental organizations supporting whale conservation in the Pacific, West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Ensure a voting majority of countries in the IWC that support whale conservation.
  • End Japanese scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
  • Achieve lasting reform of the IWC so it will provide greater protection for whales.

Pew's network broadened the voice of whale conservation both at IWC meetings and in local policy discussions within IWC member countries. Several whale and marine mammal sanctuaries – including Palau, Tokelau, and the French West Indies – were established and promoted with support from the network. In addition, the network also encouraged the development of properly controlled whale watching as a means of contributing to the livelihoods of coastal communities and the expansion of non-lethal research on whales. 

Media Contact

Andy Fisher

Senior Director, Communications