Icelandic Whaling and the International Whaling Commission

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a ban (or moratorium) on commercial whaling in 1982, which went into effect in 1986. Iceland did not formally object to the moratorium when it was imposed, but when it took effect the country continued to whale for "scientific purposes," taking approximately 60 whales per year until 1992, when it withdrew from the IWC.

Iceland rejoined the IWC in 2002 in a controversial vote and lodged an objection to the moratorium—the legality of which is disputed by many countries. Iceland resumed scientific whaling in 2003 and over five years killed 200 minke whales. In 2006, it also started a limited commercial whale hunt under its controversial objection, killing seven minke whales and seven fin whales, in addition to its scientific catch. In 2009, Iceland resumed large-scale commercial whaling, and by the close of the 2015 whaling season had killed 562 endangered fin whales and 339 minke whales. In December 2013, the government of Iceland issued a new five-year quota for fins and minkes, under which it could slaughter nearly 2,000 whales.