Turning the Page: Bringing Whale Conservation into the 21st Century

Turning the Page: Bringing Whale Conservation into the 21st Century

Created in 1949 pursuant to the entry into force of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will turn 60 in 2009. The moratorium on commercial whaling was adopted by the IWC 27 years ago, in 1982, and it has been in force since 1986 – nearly a quarter of a century. The controversy over commercial whaling stems back even further, to the Stockholm Environment Conference of 1972 where a call for a moratorium on commercial whaling was first aired.

It is thus a daunting challenge for anyone not familiar with the details and intricacies of whaling politics to fully understand why such a protracted battle has been fought over this single issue given the scale of other threats to the natural environment. Likewise, it is very difficult for anyone caught up in the minute details and fierce emotions of the whaling controversy to find the distance necessary to consider practical ways out of the current policy impasse whereby a moratorium exists in name only, with several countries continuing to hunt whales and sell them in the marketplace, including limited international trade.  There are no international controls on the catch limits they assign themselves.

For these reasons the Pew Environment Group has assembled an international group of eminent persons - all committed to conservation but not directly involved (at least currently) in the politics of the IWC – to take a fresh look at the issue.  They will come together in Lisbon, Portugal in February 2009, informed and assisted by the presence of several whaling debate insiders (both pro- and anti-whaling).  The work of the Pew Commission will contribute to the IWC's ongoing discussions on the Future of the IWC.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.