The American Cetacean Society was instrumental in passing the global moratorium on commercial whale hunting. The organization first voiced the need for a moratorium to delegates attending the United Nations Environmental Conference in 1972; the delegates subsequently voted 52-0 in support of the moratorium. ACS continued advocating for the protection of whales to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and eventually succeeded in working with the IWC to pass a moratorium on the commercial exploitation of whales in 1986.
Many people believe that commercial whale hunting ended in the last century, but it still continues today.
ACS represents “Civil Society” at annual meetings of the IWC. ACS’s representative discusses whaling issues with delegates and commissioners of contracting governments to assess their governments’ positions on issues related to commercial whaling and international whaling policy. If a contracting government’s position is ‘on the fence’ with regard to an issue on which a vote may be called on the Commission floor, the representative makes every attempt to contact the delegate/commissioner of that nation in an attempt to present facts and discuss issues leading to a vote in favor of conservation of whale stocks. In this way, ACS’s work directly protects whales in danger of commercial hunting. ACS also advocates for whale conservation issues to be brought to the floor for discussion, evoking position statements from commissioners of IWC contracting governments. Lastly, ACS contributes to the Voluntary Fund for Small Cetacean Conservation Research, allowing full funding of proposals accepted by the IWC’s Scientific Committee/Conservation Committee, and permitting future research proposals to be brought forward.
ACS is also a member of the Whales Need Us Coalition, a group of 20 non-governmental organizations unified in support of 1) maintaining the moratorium on commercial hunting established in 1986; 2) strengthening and enforcing the IWC policies upon which whaling regulations and decisions are made; and 3) advocating for the U.S Government to assume a lead role in ending commercial and “scientific” whaling worldwide.