Whales have captivated the human imagination for millennia. Indeed, evidence of the first whale hunting dates back to at least 6,000 B.C. These incredible cetaceans have been a source of human food, fuel and tools, and have inspired art, myth and literature around the globe. Legal issues affecting whales are varied and far reaching. Only since the mid 20th century, with the establishment of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) under the terms of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) have whales benefited from any type of conservation effort.