Catch Limits & Catches taken
Information on recent catches taken by commercial, aboriginal and scientific permit whaling.
On this page
|Commercial limits||Commercial whaling catch limits|
|Aboriginal limits||Catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling|
|Scientific Permits||Catches taken under scientific permits|
|Whale Sanctuaries||As a management measure|
In 1982, the Commission took a decision, which came into force for the 1986 and 1985/86 seasons, that catch limits for all commercial whaling would be set to zero. That decision also stated that by 1990 at the latest, the Commission will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the effect of the decision on whale stocks and consider modification of the provision and establishment of other catch limits - See Schedule Para 10e.
Subsequently the Scientific Committee has developed and the Commission adopted the Revised Management Procedure (RMP) for commercial whaling. This has not been implemented, awaiting agreement from the Commission on the Revised Management Scheme (RMS) which includes additional non-scientific matters including inspection and observation.
At the 2003 meeting, as in previous years, the Commission did not adopt a proposal by Japan for an interim relief allocation of 50 minke whales to be taken by coastal community-based whaling.
As Norway has lodged objections to the relevant items in the Schedule, it has exercised its right to set national catch limits for its coastal whaling operations for minke whales. The Commission passed a Resolution calling on Norway to halt all whaling activities under its jurisdiction.
Click HERE for a list of commercial catches taken under objection since the zero catch limits came into force
The Commission sets catch limits for stocks subject to aboriginal subsistence whaling.
With the completion of the RMP, the Scientific Committee has been developing a new procedure for the management of aboriginal subsistence whaling. This must take into account the different management objectives for such whaling when compared to commercial whaling. This is an iterative and ongoing effort.
The Commission will establish an Aboriginal Whaling Scheme that comprises the scientific and logistical (e.g. inspection/observation) aspects of the management of all aboriginal fisheries. Within this, the scientific component might comprise some general aspects common to all fisheries (e.g. guidelines and requirements for surveys and for data c.f. the RMP) and an overall AWMP within which there will be common components and case-specific components.
At the 2002 meeting, the Committee completed its work with respect to the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock of bowhead whales. It agreed a Strike Limit Algorithm (SLA) for bowhead whales and the scientific aspects of a Scheme; the SLA was adopted by the Commission. Work on the Strike Limit Algorithm for gray whales in was completed in 2004 and adopted by the Commission. The situation for the Greenlandic fisheries for fin and minke whales is more complex. A considerable amount of research, especially concerning stock identity, is required and to this end, the Committee has developed a research programme in cooperation with Greenlandic scientists.
The Aboriginal Subsistence catch limits currently in force are:
Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock of bowhead whales (taken by native people of Alaska and Chukotka) -A total of up to 280 bowhead whales can be landed in the period 2008 - 2012, with no more than 67 whales struck in any year (and up to 15 unused strikes may be carried over each year).
Eastern North Pacific gray whales (taken by native people of Chukotka and Washington State) - A total catch of 620 whales is allowed for the years 2008 - 2012 with a maximum of 140 in any one year.
East Greenland common minke whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 12 whales is allowed for the years 2008 – 2012, with any unused quota available to be carried forward to subsequent years provided that no more than 3 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.
West Greenland bowhead whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 2 whales is allowed for the years 2008 - 2012 with an annual review by the Scientific Committee. Any unused quota can be carried forward to subsequent years so long as not more than 2 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.
West Greenland fin whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 16 whales is allowed for the years 2010 - 2012. However at the 2010 Meeting Denmark and Greenland agreed to voluntarily reduce further the catch limit for the West Greenland stock of fin whales from 16 to 10 for each of the years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
West Greenland common minke whales (taken by Greenlanders) - An annual strike limit of 178 whales is allowed for the years 2010 - 2012 with an annual review by the Scientific Committee. Any unused quota can be carried forwards so long as no more than 15 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.
West Greenland humpback whales (taken by Greenlanders) – An annual strike limit of 9 whales is allowed for the years 2010-2012 with an annual review by the Scientific Committee. Any unused quota can be carried forwards so long as not more than 2 strikes are added to the quota for any one year.
Humpback whales taken by St Vincent and The Grenadines - For the seasons 2008-2012 the number of humpback whales to be taken shall not exceed 20.
Click HERE for a list of aboriginal subsistence catches taken since the zero catch limits came into force
Since the ‘moratorium’ came into effect after 1986, Japan, Norway and Iceland have issued scientific permits as part of their research programmes. (Click HERE for more information on Scientific Permits).
Click HERE for a list of special permit catches taken since the zero catch limits came into force
As well as management measures governing catch and size limits, species and seasons, the IWC also designates open and closed areas for commercial whaling. (Click HERE for information on IWC designated sanctuaries and the history of their creation).