Defending the Whales
of Iceland


Whales in Danger

In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) enacted a moratorium on all commercial whaling. Since then, three nations - Iceland, Norway, and Japan - have brutally slaughtered over 25,000 whales under the guise of scientific research and for commercial purposes. The IWC does not have the capacity to enforce the moratorium. Sea Shepherd, guided by the United Nations World Charter for Nature, is the only organization whose mission is to enforce these international conservation regulations on the high seas.

An example of Sea Shepherd's enforcement actions came in 1986 when Sea Shepherd sank half of the Icelandic whaling fleet at dockside in Reykjavik and destroyed their whale processing plant - ending illegal whaling for 20 years.

Now, two decades later, we are about to challenge illegal Icelandic whaling once again.

In blatant disregard for any regulations concerning whaling, Iceland has issued licenses for a commercial whale "hunt" in addition to its continued "scientific program" to allegedly uphold a proud heritage of mindless slaughter on the high seas.

Iceland currently has approximately 100-200 tons of whale meat in Icelandic frozen storage.

It is Sea Shepherd's mission to abolish whaling, and thus, we now must venture to the other side of the world to confront another country's outlaw whaling ships once again. We are sending the Farley Mowat on a long odyssey from Melbourne, Australia to Iceland.

Saving whales is what we do best and what we are most noted for. Our approach has been simple and straightforward. We have shut down outlaw whaling activities in Norway, Iceland, Spain, and the former Soviet Union. We continue to be the most aggressive, most successful, and only organization dedicated to direct-action and intervention to protect the great leviathans. Sea Shepherd has built a reputation for action on the high seas that is paralleled by none others. Sea Shepherd is the ONLY organization that is actively returning to Iceland to intervene to protect these gentle giants.

Read about how Sea Shepherd has been at the forefront of whale protection for almost 30 years


Fin Whale


Help us secure a future for the whales.


Iceland's Whale Kill
Date Range Minke

Sep 1 thru Early Nov '06

  7   7
May 8 thru June 25, '07 39     39
June 25 thru Aug 31, '07   2 30 32
Total 39 9 30 78
Res=Research    Com=Commercial


Iceland's Commercial Whaling

1883-1915: 17,189 whales were killed. These included blue, fin, humpback, and sperm whales.

1915: Parliament banned all whaling due to overexploitation.

1935: Whaling licenses were again issued and 439 whales were killed. These included blue, fin, humpback, sperm, and sei whales.

1939: Again all whaling ceased.

1948: Commercial whaling began. Up until 1985, a total of 17,078 whales were killed. These were blue, fin, sei, sperm, and humpback.

1985: Commercial whaling ceased due to the adoption of the IWC Whaling Moratorium.

Commercial whaling of Minke whales:

1914 to 1974: Minke whales were killed but no records were kept.

1975 to 1985: 2,200 Minke whales were killed.

2006: Iceland issues permits to the Hvalur H/F whaling company in 2006 for an additional 30 Minke and nine fin whales as part of its "sustainable commercial whaling" program.

October 21, 2006 to present: Iceland killed the first endangered fin whale in violation of the IWC moratorium. Since October, there have been seven fin whales killed, and the quota of nine whales is expected to be reached by the end of the season in August 07. Hvalur Hf is the company commercially hunting fin whales.

"Scientific Research" Whaling Periods

1985: Iceland submitted a "Scientific Research" whaling plan to the IWC. The IWC expressed its doubts over the benefits of such a program but did not take formal action.

1986-1989:The Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries then issued annual permits to the Hvalur H/F whaling company for 80 fin and 40 sei whales, and whaling began in May 1986. The total catch for this period was 292 fin and 70 sei whales.

1990 to 2002: All whaling ceased.

2003: Iceland submitted a "scientific research" proposal to the IWC for 100 Minke, 100 fin, and 50 sei whales. The total quota was later changed to 200 minke whales. Again, the IWC showed concern with the program but took no formal action. As a result permits were issued to a small fleet of minke whaling vessels hired by the Ministry of Fisheries.

From 1883 to 2003, Iceland has killed at least 40,000 whales.

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