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Founded 1977

Save The Whales' purpose is to educate children

and adults about marine mammals, their

environment and their preservation. 

  64th Annual International Whaling Commission Meeting


The 64th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was held in Panama City, Panama, from June 11 through July 6. Since 1986, when the International Whaling Commission adopted the commercial whaling moratorium, over 35,000 whales have been slaughtered.

  IWC meetings will now take place every two years instead of yearly, but the Scientific Committee will continue to meet yearly. Its next meeting will be in South Korea, May-June 2013.

  The ongoing killing of whales by Japan under their interpretation of "scientific research" receives the most attention, but there are many issues facing cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) such as ship strikes, net entanglement, marine debris, whale watching, chemical pollutants in cetacean bodies, sonar testing, habitat destruction, and countries that continue to promote commercial whaling. This year's shocking and massive die-off of 900 dolphins along a long coastline of northern Peru demonstrates the fragility of the world population of cetaceans.   


Some of the issues discussed: 

Japan - Their request to begin small scale whaling by its coastal communities was tabled. Minke whales (the smallest of the large whales) are safe for a while.

Monaco - A resolution by Monaco proposed urging the United Nations to become more involved in whale conservation and governance. Presently, the UN defers to the IWC about whaling issues. The resolution was defeated.

South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary - Some Latin American countries continued their efforts to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and, once again, the vote was defeated but by a narrower margin than in the past. The proposal was supported by 64% but it was short of the three-fourths majority required by IWC rules. Japan is very opposed to this sanctuary even though there is declining domestic consumption of whale meat in their country and increasing opposition abroad.

South Korea - Officials announced that they will submit a proposal at the next IWC meeting to allow their fishermen to hunt whales for "scientific research."  However, after worldwide protests, they backed down from whaling plans. Fisheries official Kang Joon-suk said that Seoul may discard whaling plans if it can find ways to study whales without killing them. What this means is unknown. South Korea had a long tradition of whaling before the international moratorium was introduced in 1986.  

Denmark-Greenland - Denmark proposed - on behalf of Greenland - to increase the number of whales in its annual kill for "aboriginal and subsistence" purposes. This proposal got 43% support which was far short of the three-fourths majority needed by IWC rules.The U.S. supported Greenland and aboriginal whaling. The EU community expressed sympathy for aboriginal peoples but Greenland's whaling has been exposed as commercial enterprises because whale meat is sold in restaurants and grocery stores, not distributed to aboriginal people.

Ship Strikes -The IWC has established a global database on ship strikes, and it recommended the appointment of a ship strike data coordinator. It was noted that the U.S. and Panama have made progress on this threat  to whales.  

Vaquita - The vaquita, a small porpoise, is one of Save The Whales' major issues. The world is faced with the very real possibility that the vaquita could become extinct. In 2006, the Yangtze River dolphin (baiji) was declared extinct. The same fate awaits the tiny vaquita, "panda of the sea." It has been discussed endlessly but the only effort that will save the vaquita is the removal of all gillnets from its range in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. This is the only population of vaquita in the world. For more information on vaquita: 


Comment from Austrian Commissioner:

We have had one very worst case scenario recently with the baiji.  Mr. Chair, my fellow commissioners, we are on the brink of another worst case scenario with the vaquita in Mexico. How much greater must the shame be when a highly-evolved species is on the brink of extinction again? Frankly, it's time for diplomatic niceties and step-wise strategies to take a backseat to action. Our organization is about to be shamed. We will be under the eternal judgment from future generations if we fail.


We call on the IWC, range states, and NGOs to raise this issue to a higher level of resoluteness.



United States and Other Countries Aboriginal Hunting Quotas
Over the past year, the U.S. has led informal group discussions to settle aboriginal whale hunting issues. They came up with "bundling" the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling requests together in order to obtain four, six-year bowhead quotas for its native Alaskan communities. Current IWC regulations permit aboriginal subsistence whaling for Denmark (Greenland: fin and minke whales), the Russian Federation (Siberia: gray and bowhead whales), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Bequia: humpback whales), and the U.S. (Alaska: bowhead and gray whales). Bequia does not meet the criteria of "aboriginal," as whaling began there as a family whaling business in 1875. Because of the questionable conduct of the U.S., for six more years the humpbacks of the Caribbean will be targeted by "whalers" who chase them in speedboats. Mothers are separated from babies and whales are killed indiscriminately. 


Amount of Whale Takes by Aboriginal Peoples
(most current figures). 
United States: Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock of bowhead whales (taken by native people of Alaska and Chukotka). A total of up to 280 bowhead whales can be landed in the 2008-2012 period with no more than 67 whales struck in any year (and up to 15 unused strikes may be carried over each year).
Eastern North Pacific gray whales (taken by native people of Chukotka and Washington State). A total catch of 620 whales is allowed for the years 2008-2012 with a maximum of 140 in any one year.
East Greenland common minke whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 12 whales is allowed for the years 2008-2012, with any unused quota available to be carried forward to subsequent years, provided that no more than 3 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.

West Greenland bowhead whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 2 whales is allowed for 2008-2012 with an annual review by the Scientific Committee. Any unused quota can be carried forward to subsequent years so long as not more than 2 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.

West Greenland fin whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 16 whales is allowed for the years 2010-2012. However at the 2010 meeting, Denmark and Greenland agreed to voluntarily reduce further the catch limit for the West Greenland stock of fin whales from 16 to 10 for each of the years 2010, 2011 and 2012.

West Greenland common minke whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 178 whales is allowed for the years 2010-2012 with an annual review by the Scientific Committee.  Any unused quota can be carried forward so long as no more than 15 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.

West Greenland humpback whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 9 whales is allowed for the years 2010-2012 with an annual review by the Scientific Committee.  Any unused quota can be carried forward so long as not more than 2 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.

End of IWC Meeting.

A bureau was established to handle IWC affairs between meetings. It currently consists of the Chair, Vice Chair, Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee and four other members who represent a range of views in the Commission.   


Humpback Whale & Cargo Ship
(c) John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research Collective

Rerouting Shipping Lanes Plan to Protect
 Whales in San Francisco Area

After a two-year effort, brought about by the deaths of too many whales caused by ship strikes off the California coast, federal maritime officials have a plan to protect whales in and around San Francisco Bay. Starting next year, ships will be rerouted around some areas with high whale traffic, and extra work will be done to monitor whales and better understand where they're congregating.
   The changes were created by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), industry representatives, whale researchers and the Coast Guard. They will probably take effect next year after a final review by the United Nations International Maritime Organization.
  The plan would include establishing a real-time whale monitoring network.Trained sailors onboard commercial ships would report when and where they spotted whales. When sighted, a warning would be sent to ship captains. They would be given the option to slow down or take a different route.
   This means that real time tools would have to be developed for rapid uploading and visualization of sighting data. Until now, ship captains have relied on historical data for whale locations. This method means that ships may slow down unnecessarily and delay delivery of their cargo.

  Four primary groups of whales have been victims of ship strikes: blue, humpback, fin and gray whales. The impact on blue whales is of the greatest concern because of their smaller population, lack of population recovery, and their high mortality from ship strikes. Documented strikes seem to be higher around high densities of traffic like San Diego, Los Angeles/Long Beach, and the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The Santa Barbara Channel is also an area where blue whale strikes are more common.

   Ship noise and the frequencies they use overlap with the frequencies used by some whales, especially the low frequencies used by blues, humpbacks, fins and grays. This masks ship noise like propellers so whales do not know a ship's proximity.

  The decisions by captains would be voluntary but it is believed that they will support the plan, as the cost of training a bridge crew is less than lost time in slowing down ships when no whales are present. 

Please consider supporting membership and contributions to our organization. This month, we would especially appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to designate Save The Whales as part of the Armstrong promotion.


Thank you.



Maris Sidenstecker I
Executive Director, Save The Whales
501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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Maris Sidenstecker
Television Interview

Save The Whales co-founder Maris Sidenstecker II was on the news in Monterey, CA. 
Did you know that storm drain runoff is one of the largest sources of ocean pollution?

Students That Inspire Us
The 4th grade class at Lincoln School in Evansville, Indiana had a lemonade stand at the end of school year  to raise funds for Save The Whales.The students had read stories about whales, created Power Point presentations, explored the internet, watched videos and learned a great deal about whales. They planned their fundraiser and advertised! Their teamwork paid off, and they were pleased to contribute $230. They are proud to be a part of a community that cares about all living creatures on this Earth. Save The Whales is grateful for their contribution.
Submitted by their teacher: Mary Jane Montgomery

Evansville, Indiana.  

For more Inspirations, visit this link. 

New Book on Orca Deaths at

Save The Whales has worked against  the captivity and display of killer whales (the largest dolphin), other dolphins, marine mammals and whales at SeaWorld and similar facilities.

 For more information
on the issues surrounding the use of killer whales as entertainment, a new book by journalist David Kirby, discusses the topic thoroughly.  

  "Death at SeaWorld" is not just about the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010, but also about the nearly half century history of  keeping this species in captivity. Several members of the scientific community, past and present, make an appearance in the book.   

  Naomi Rose, Ph.D. is prominently featured in the narrative, along with Jeff Ventre, a former SeaWorld killer whale trainer and current M.D., and three of his former SeaWorld colleagues.  

  The book became  available on July 17. To purchase, and for more information.  


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