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Whaling in Numbers

Which countries hunt whales? How many whales have been killed since the moratorium on whaling came into place in 1986? WDC maintains a database of whaling information and facts and figures. We hope this is useful for students, academics, the media, governments and the public. All the charts are available to embed in your own website (page last updated Nov 2017).
Whaling boats in Iceland
Whaling boats in Iceland

The Impact of the Moratorium on Whaling

Commercial Whaling (including Scientific Permit Whaling*)




* Japan's Antarctic, so-called 'Scientific', Whaling was deemed commercial whaling in 2014 by the International Court of Justice. * Norway and Iceland have both used Scientific Permits to self-allocate themselves quotas for their commercial whalers.

Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW)

Denmark (Greenland)

*it should be noted that the 2013 and 2014 hunt did not receive the support of the IWC and is, therefore, an infraction or pirate whaling

Russian Federation (formally the USSR)

United States of America (USA)

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Illegal* Whaling 

*Please note that Greenland was illegally whaling without a quota in 2013 and 2014 and Japan's Antarctic whaling was deemed illegal by the ICJ, but quotas were issued under Article VIII. South Korea has no quota, is not whaling under Article VIII and does not whale under an objection.

South Korea

Greenland (Denmark)

As noted above Greenland received no quota from the IWC for 2013 and 2014 therefore its hunts were illegal and should be reported as an IWC infraction. The IWC is still debating how to deal with this infraction, and indeed, some countries have even proposed that, in the future, a failure to obtain a revised quota should result in a lower/earlier quota remaining in place. Other IWC members are concerned that this sets a dangerous precedence for any future commercial whaling quotas and so this issue should be approached with extreme care.

Greenland was given an updated quota for the period 2014-2018 and shall have to apply for a new allocation subject to it addressing the outstanding concerns about the commercialization of its hunt.