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Coastal waters of Ecuador are constantly visited by several species of whales and dolphins. Between June and October we are visited by Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaengliae) that come here to mate and deliver their young. They spend the remainder of the year feeding in Antarctic waters, but once a year they carry out one of the longest migrations of any animal on the planet to mate on our coastline.

Whale watching tourism has become a major income for thousands of Ecuadorian families who have found this to be a valid and sustainable alternative to the declining fishing industry.



In the last century whales have been hunted irresponsibly, and this has carried them to the edge of extinction. In 1986 a prohibition decreed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC )went into effect for the termination of commercial hunting of whales in all the oceans of the world.  This measure has meant that some species such as the Hunchback have recovered, albeit slowly. However, others such as The Blue Whale have not had the same success, and in spite of the fact that they have not been hunted since 1966 their numbers continue to be extremely low; unfortunately we may have gone too far with them and probably they will never recover.

Currently, hunting and fishing are not the only threats for whales and other marine mammals. Global warming has caused significant changes in their habitats, and together with increasing boat traffic, fishing nets, and the pollution of the sea, it is calculated that over 100,000 whales and dolphins die every year at the cost of our daily actions. Clearly, it is therefore irresponsible for us to continue to intentionally kill whales since they are already so close to a point of extinction

Incredibly, Ecuador was not member of the IWC, the only organization capable of protecting whales against hunting in international waters.

Link to the site of the International Whaling Commission



There are members within the CBI that are continually trying to open the path to the commercial hunting of whales, even with its detrimental effects evidenced in the past. Japan continues to be at the forefront of this campaign and have continued to hunt whales since the prohibition under the pretext of “hunting for scientific studies”. Japan hunts and kills up to 1400 whales each year, the majority in the Southern Whaling Sanctuary where our Ecuadorian whales go to feed.

Equilibrio Azul therefore decided to support Greenpeace’s campaign within Ecuador, trying to encourage countries with a conservationist attitude to enter the IWC and with it’s vote help stop Japan’s continual slaughtering of whales “in the name of science”.

We worked throughout the years 2006 and 2007 in public activities and political meetings to convince the government to pay an old pending dept with this international agency so that we could attend for the first time in many years the IWC meeting in Alaska in 2007 and vote in favour of conservation of whales. This was followed by Ecuador's vote in Santiago de Chile in 2008, contributing to the conservation block's efforts.



Once more it was evident in this case that to obtain results it is necessary to unite many people in a common objective. The government received over 18,000 drawings from 47 countries asking Ecuador to vote for the protection of whales...


Marches were organized in Quito, Guayaquil, Galapagos and cities worldwide.

Flags were painted and the Japanese Ambassador was visited on Valentines day.
And we spoke with many members of the government and press.  All in all, teamwork and determination paid off.  Ecuador is once again in the International Whaling Commission contributing with its vote to try to put an end to this practice of the past, which should never be given a chance to continue in our oceans.


Fundación Equilibrio Azul© 2006-2008 • E-mail: info@equilibrioazul.org • P.O.BOX. 17116025 • Quito - Ecuador
Diseñado por NM.COM / Fotografía: Felipe Vallejo E.