Sierra Club Conservation Policies
Marine Mammal Protection Act
The Sierra Club favors legislation to prohibit all hunting and harassment of marine
mammals, with the exception of
- occasional specimens captured for scientific research and zoos,
- hunting by American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, etc., for the sole use of their families,
- carefully managed seal fisheries (sometimes called "harvests"), so long as
these activities do not endanger marine mammal populations.
Adopted by the Executive Committee, August 21, 1971; ratified by the Board of
Directors, February 5-6, 1972 [Note: the Marine Mammal Protection Act became law October
The Sierra Club urges the International Whaling Commission to manage the whaling
industry on a more rational basis, to allocate sufficient funds for whale research, to
provide an adequately large team of observers to implement the International Observer
Plan, and to seek sufficient appropriations for effective operation of the Commission. The
Club also urges the U.S. Department of State to encourage whale product import limitations
-- and if necessary bans--in other nations.
Adopted May 1-2, 1971
The Sierra Club recommends that any solution of the current controversy over the
imposition of the International Whaling Commission quota on the take of bowhead whales in
Alaska should observe the following principles:
- Overriding priority must be given to the continued viability of the bowhead whale
- The Alaska Eskimos should be involved in the preparation of the U.S. policy on the
bowheads and in future meetings of the International Whaling Commission which deal with
matters relating to the bowhead.
- Native subsistence uses of the bowhead should be the only use in any take permitted.
- The necessary resources must be committed to the task of gathering better scientific
data on the bowhead to allow the establishment of an informed management program for the
bowhead. The research should solicit and encourage the cooperation and the support of
- There must be careful regulation of any subsistence taking allowed in the near future
with strict quotas on the number of whales struck, whether they are landed or not . . .
The Sierra Club urges the federal government to conduct a thorough, ongoing study of
the population of the species, numbers of whales harvested, and methods for improving the
manner and means of the hunt in coordination with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and
other interested parties.
Adopted by the Board of Directors, November 5-6, 1977
Purse-Seining of Porpoises; Tuna Boycott
The Sierra Club supports . . . the nation-wide boycott of yellowfin tuna only (which is
canned as "light meat" tuna) pending definite and significant evidence that the
language and spirit of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to "reduce porpoise
mortality and serious injury to insignificant levels approaching zero" is firmly met.
This policy is solely to protect porpoise killed and injured during the purse-seine method
of fishing "on porpoise" and therefore does not apply to albacore, bonita or
tuna caught by other methods.
Adopted by the Board or Directors, December 7-8, 1974
North Pacific Fur Seal Treaty
The Sierra Club supports continuation of the Interim Convention of North Pacific Fur
Adopted by the Board of Directors, February 2-3, 1980
Antarctic Seal Hunting
The Sierra Club finds no justification for the opening of the Antarctic Treaty Area to
commercial exploitation of seals, and we urge the State Department to negotiate a treaty
that will effectively close the Antarctic Treaty Area, including the high seas, to any
commercial exploration of wildlife.
Adopted by the Board of Directors, February 5-6, 1972