AR-News: (UK) Whaling - A Bloody Business

Animalara2003 at Animalara2003 at
Fri Jul 2 00:02:34 EDT 2004
Friday 2nd  July 2004
by Stuart Brown - Editor - 
The International Whaling Commission  (IWC) is once more meeting in the 
Italian city of Sorrento, and on the agenda is  the proposed resumption of 
commercial whaling. The IWC has an interesting  history. It was founded in 1946 by the 
world’s 14 largest whaling nations to  manage whale stocks. This was 
primarily an economic and not a conservation role,  and was basically a whaling 
version of OPEC. An  attempt to maximize profits from whaling whilst trying to 
ensure that there were  enough whales to keep the populations viable for fishing. 
In this remit the IWC  was totally ineffective, running an old boys club that 
was a whalers charter.  During the 1950’s and 60s an average of over 60,000 
whales of different species  were killed EACH YEAR. The IWC set such high quota 
limits that within 20 years  of being formed the number of blue whales had 
plummeted to the point where the  species was staring extinction in the face.      

The Head of a Blue Whale  

Today there are estimated to be less  than 3500 Blue Whales worldwide 
( ). That is not much more than 10% of the number of Blue  Whales that 
were killed in a single year in 1931, when 29,650 Blue Whales were  slaughtered 
back in the bad old days of commercial whaling. And the total  current 
population of Blue Whales represents about 1% of the over 350,000 Blue  Whales killed 
between 1910 and 1969. In 1966 the Blue Whale was finally given  protected 
status internationally which afforded a welcome start on a very long  road to 
recovery. However, to give some perspective to the destruction that has  already 
been wrought to these magnificent creatures - I have compiled some  
comparative data for between 1910 and 1969 of whaling kills (see chart below).  During 
this period over 2 million whales were slaughtered. 

full story:

We fill the slaughterhouses  daily with screams of fear and pain. - 
Robert Louis  Stevenson
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