International Whaling Commission


In December 1946, fifteen whaling nations, including Australia, met in Washington DC to sign the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling with the intention to "establish a system of international regulation for the whale fisheries to ensure proper and effective conservation and development of whale stocks".
 
This superseded earlier Agreements drawn up in 1937, and amended in 1938 and 1945.
 
Key elements of the 1946 Whaling Convention were the identification of whale "stocks", determining whaling quotas for each member nation and each stock, establishing rules about the types and sizes of whales that could be taken, and providing protection for any species that should not be taken.
 
History shows how ineffective this management regime was, and how - despite lessons that should have been learned by previous over-exploitation - populations and entire species declined alarmingly. The three main causes of failure were (i) quota models focused primarily on maximum yield and profit; (ii) a reluctance to apply the precautionary principle; and (iii) under-reporting and illegal hunting on the part of whaling nations.
 
The IWC headquarters is located in Cambridge, England.
 
Any nation may become a member of the IWC regardless of whether it has ever been involved in whaling or ever intends to.
 
There are four permanent committees reporting to the Commission: the Scientific, the Conservation, the Technical, and Finance & Administration committees. There are also sub-committees that report on Infractions and on Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling. Working Groups are established as needed to deal with matters such as Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues.
 
Full meetings of the IWC are held every two years andmay be hosted by any member nation. The 65th IWC meeting took place in Portoroz, Slovenia in September 2014. The dates and venue for the 2016 meeting are yet to be decided.
 
There are currently 89 nations recognised as full members of the IWC.


AWCS

Dedicated to

cetacean

conservation,

education and

research