Partial Chronology of Whaling

2nd Century Passive whaling in its primitive form in Japan as evidenced in shell mounds and other archeological findings.
9th Century Whaling starts in Norway, France and Spain.
12th Century Whaling using hand-harpoons starts in Japan.
1606 Organized whaling using hand-harpoons starts in Taiji.
1612 Whaling of Baird's Beaked Whales using hand-harpoons starts near Wadaura in Chiba Peninsula, north-east of Edo (the area covering the present capital of Tokyo).
1675 Japan's first documented net whaling operated in Taiji.
Techniques of net whaling, unique to Japanese coastal whaling, rapidly transferred to Kyushu, Shikoku and other parts of Japan.
1712 Sperm whaling starts in the United States.
1838 Organized net whaling method is adopted in Ayukawa, Japan.
1864 Modern whaling method developed in Norway.
1879 Net whaling in the coastal village of Taiji, in Kii Peninsula, south of Kyoto ended due to the loss of 111 members of a whaling team in stormy seas. This incident prompts the introduction of modern whaling.
1904 Japan begins pelagic whaling in the Antarctic.
1906 Japan starts modern coastal whaling with construction of whaling station in Ayukawa on the northern Pacific coast of Japan's main island of Honshu.
1931 The first Whaling Convention signed by 22 whaling nations.
1946 The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) is signed in Washington, D.C.
1948 The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is established to implement the ICRW.
1951 Japan becomes a signatory to the ICRW.
1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) adopts a resolution calling for a ten year moratorium on commercial whaling. In the same year, following the Stockholm Conference, IWC rejects the proposed moratorium.
1982 IWC adopts a blanket moratorium on commercial whaling to become effective beginning in 1985 for pelagic whaling and in 1986 for coastal whaling.
1985 Japan withdraws its objection to the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling.
1987 Japan and the USSR cease commercial whaling in the Antarctic.
1988 Japanese coastal whaling operations for sperm and minke whales cease.
1990 IWC Scientific Committee estimates the Antarctic minke whale population at 760,000.
1992 Revised Management Procedure (RMP) is completed by the IWC Scientific Committee.
1993 Japan hosts 45th Annual Meeting of the IWC in Kyoto. IWC resolves to work expeditiously to alleviate distress to Japanese coastal whaling communities resulting from the moratorium.
1994 IWC adopts the RMP to be included with an inspection scheme and other measures in a Revised Management Scheme (RMS). Southern Ocean Sanctuary prohibiting commercial whaling adopted. (In accordance with Article VIII of the ICRW, Japan lodges an objection which legally exempts Japan from this decision. Japan's objection limited to minke whales which are known to be abundant in the designated area.)
1995- IWC delays completion of the RMS. Japan provides legal arguments that the Southern Ocean Sanctuary is illegal since it was adopted without regard to Article V.2. of the ICRW.

Supervised by the Fisheries Agency and the Institute of Cetacean Research
1,500 (September 1999)

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