The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established in 1946, under the International convention for the regulation of whaling which came into force in 1948, and which contains the regulations governing the actual operations of whaling by the nationals of contracting governments. IWC activities include: providing for proper conservation of whale stocks; encourage, recommend and organize studies and investigations relating to whales and whaling; collect and analyse statistical information concerning current conditions and trend of whale stocks; study, appraise and disseminate information concerning methods of maintaining and increasing populations of whale stocks; regulation of whaling; enforcement of whaling controls; exploration of stocks of whales and other cetaceans. In 1982, a ban on commercial whaling was passed by IWC, and the indefinite worldwide moratorium remains in force.
Agreements, treaties and conventions covering the regulation or protection of whales include among others the: Agreement on the Regulation of North Pacific Whaling, signed 1970; Arrangements for the Regulation of Antarctic Pelagic Whaling, in force 1963; Supplementary Arrangements for the Regulation of Antarctic Pelagic Whaling, signed 1962; International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, signed 1946, with annexed schedule; International Agreement for the Regulation of Whaling, signed 1937, and amended with the Protocol for the Regulation of Whaling, signed 1945.
In one action, a Greenpeace ship chased the Norwegian whaling fleet for two weeks in 1992, resulting in reducing the number of whales killed.