Monday 11 July 2011

IWC 63 begins

The 63rd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) got under way today in Jersey, United Kingdom, following meetings of the various Sub-committees and the Scientific Committee in June.

The Australian delegation is being led by Environment Minister Tony Burke.

As in previous years, the issue of scientific whaling will be high on the agenda.

In a media statement on the first day of the 2011 meeting Mr Burke said, "The Gillard Government is resolutely opposed to all forms of commercial whaling, including commercial whaling conducted under the guise of science".

To this end, Australia will promote the Southern Ocean Research Program, in which it has invested considerable funding and other resources, as a viable alternative to lethal whale research.

Whale watching again features on this year’s agenda. Both the Scientific Committee and the Conservation Committee will present progress reports from work being undertaken in this area. The Commission will also consider a proposal for a five-year strategic plan from the special Working Group on whale watching.

The Commission will review reports from the Scientific Committee on the status of a number of whale stocks including Antarctic minke whales, Southern Hemisphere humpback whales, Southern Hemisphere blue whales and the critically endangered Western North Pacific gray whales [see News Item 22.01.2011].

Not for the first time, the Commission will also consider the establishment of a Sanctuary for Whales in the South Atlantic Ocean.

The 2011 IWC meeting will run for fours days, until July 14.


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