Whaling is the hunting of whales primarily for meat, oil, and blubber. Its earliest forms date to at least circa 3000 BC. Various coastal communities have long histories of subsistence whaling and harvesting beached whales. Industrial whaling emerged with organized fleets in the 17th century; competitive national whaling industries in the 18th and 19th centuries; and the introduction of factory ships along with the concept of whale harvesting in the first half of the 20th century. By the late 1930s, more than 50,000 whales were killed annually In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling in order to increase the whale stock.Contemporary whaling is subject to intense debate. Pro-whaling countries, notably Japan, Norway, and Iceland, wish to lift the ban on certain whale stocks for hunting. Anti-whaling countries and environmental groups oppose lifting the ban. While the debate still goes on whether or not whaling should be illegal, many environmentalists say that unless it is stopped, whales could go extinct in the near future.