Saturday 09 June 2012

IWC64 kicks off in Panama

Preliminary sessions of the 64th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) commence today, June 10, in Panama City.

Meetings of the various sub-committees and the Scientific Committee will continue until the end of the month. Among the matters under review by the Scientific Committee is JARPA II, the controversial “scientific permit” whaling conducted by Japan in the Antarctic.

The main or plenary meetings will take place from July 2 to July 10.

The agenda will once again include the establishment of a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic, an initiative first proposed by Brazil and Argentina in 2001. The sanctuary has the support of more than half the IWC members but the whaling nations, with the support of nations that they have recruited to join the IWC, have blocked the 75% majority necessary to pass a proposal of this kind.

The Commission will also consider a proposal from Monaco on highly migratory cetaceans, whose seasonal movements take them “beyond the effective control of the IWC”.

As well as its review of JARPA II, the Scientific Committee is scheduled to hand down a number of reports including:
  • an assessment of humpback whales in Australia and Oceania
  • the abundance of Antarctic minke whales
  • scientific elements of IWC’s strategic plan for whale watching
  • Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling quotas.
No breakthroughs in terms of commercial or scientific whaling are expected at this year’s meeting. Positions are expected to remain polarised, with neither camp having the numbers to bring about significant change.


Dedicated to



education and