Project information

Help us stop North Atlantic Whaling

Thousands of whales are needlessly dying every year as a result of commercial hunting in countries like Iceland, Norway and Japan. EIA carries out undercover investigations and innovative campaigns to end the trade and create a safe environment for these sentinels of the sea.

January 2016 - December 2016

Charity information: Environmental Investigation Agency Trust

Environmental Investigation Agency Trust logo
  • Need


    Every year over a thousand threatened and endangered whales are hunted in Iceland and Norway, despite the international ban on commercial whaling. These countries are exploiting a gap in the Japanese market for whale meat and are expanding international trade in minke and fin whale products. EIA aims to reduce consumer demand for cetacean products in the main markets of Japan, Norway and Iceland, and to investigate and expose the trade threatening the future of these magnificent species.


    Through unique investigations exposing this threatening trade, EIA can increase public awareness and put pressure on whaling countries to end the trade. EIA will work directly with retailers to persuade them to ban the sale of whale products and in turn significantly reduce market demand. In addition, EIA’s scientific research and advocacy will play a major role in maintaining the international ban on commercial whaling and trade at key meetings throughout 2016.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Investigations to expose whaling and trade .


    » Desk-based research into the illegal trade and preparation for investigation.
    » Carry out investigations to provide visual and on the ground documentation of whaling and the trade particularly between Iceland and Japan.
    » Produce a report and film on whaling and the trade in the North Atlantic based on investigative findings.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by obtaining compelling evidence of North Atlantic whaling and trade - increasing public awareness through reports and film.

    Aim 2

    Upholding the IWC global whaling ban and CITES ban on international trade in whale products.


    » Attend IWC and CITES meetings, including scientific and technical pre-meetings, providing research and advocacy materials to member governments.
    » Share a report and film on environmental threats to whales at IWC to raise awareness of the threats to cetaceans and need to end commercial whaling.
    » Ongoing engagement with pro-conservation countries to encourage coordinated action at IWC and CITES.

    What success will look like

    Heightened awareness at IWC and CITES of increasing trade threats, leading to intensified diplomatic pressure on Iceland, Norway and Japan will show success.

  • Impact


    EIA aims to expose levels of commercial hunting of whales in the North Atlantic, and will address market demand in Japan. Exposing the trade will create increased awareness of the threats faced by whales. EIA will also aim to strengthen the resolve of CITES and the IWC to address countries currently not adhering to the commercial whaling ban and ban on international trade in whale products. Through investigations, research and advocacy EIA will help ensure a future for these remarkable species.


    There is always a risk for those investigative staff performing undercover investigations and gathering intelligence in the field. EIA take all the necessary precautions to minimise this risk by carefully planning operations, providing fake identities and backgrounds and finding local support whenever necessary.


    EIA will report progress and results to all major project donors including providing copies of any reports or campaign videos produced. Findings will also be featured on EIA’s website, e-newsletter and bi-annual members’ magazine and well as through media releases.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £15,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £6,000 Staff salaries and overheads Salaries for key staff implementing the project and EIA overheads
      £3,000 Travel Travel (including international flights and in-situ travel)
      £4,000 Field Supplies Subsistence for staff working in the field
      £2,000 Local Partners Support to local groups, guides, translators, etc.
  • Background


    This project will include desk-based research in our London office, investigations in Iceland, Norway and Japan and attendance at international meetings. The specific locations of our investigations must remain confidential, in order to protect the security of our investigators.


    The principal beneficiaries of this project are North Atlantic whales, which are important not only for their own sake but are essential components of healthy, productive marine ecosystems which contribute to increasing fish stocks and play an important role in our climate.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    EIA has been investigating the hunting of whales, dolphins and porpoises for almost 30 years. Its work has resulted in a significant decline in the numbers killed, particularly in Japan's coastal waters. EIA has made a significant contribution to ensuring continuation of the ban on commercial whaling and development of the IWC's work to address environmental threats to cetaceans. EIA is an organisation that demonstrably gets results e.g. EIA recently stopped Amazon from selling whale products.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Clare Perry

    Head of Oceans Campaign; Clare has worked at EIA for well over 15 years, leading many investigations and attending IWC meetings since 1999.

    Jennifer Lonsdale

    Founder Director of EIA; Jennifer plays a leading role in EIA’s Oceans Campaign to gain effective protection for whales, dolphins and porpoises.

    Sarah Baulch

    Oceans Campaigner; joined EIA in 2012 carrying out extensive scientific research and international advocacy on a range of marine conservation issues.

    Undercover Investigator

    Identity withheld for security purposes.

(c) Sue Flood

(c) Sue Flood