A New Zealand-backed resolution to create a whale sanctuary in the South Pacific has been defeated.
But the International Whaling Commission has voted to minimise cruelty when killing whales.
That vote has been seen as a significant victory for anti-whaling nations who have been fighting efforts by countries such as Japan, Norway and Iceland to lift the 18-year-old ban on commercial whaling.
The New Zealand Conservation minister, Chris Carter says although the Pacific whale reserve idea was turned down, it's grabbed people's attention.
"What it does do, is allow us the opportunity again, to present the arguments about the status of whales in the Pacific, which are among the poorest in the world, because it was the last area that was commercially harvested, right up to the Sixties, by the Soviet Union and Japan, and so on."