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News from the IWC

Endangered vaquita and western gray whale on the agenda at the IWC meeting in Slovenia

17 Sep 2014

Conservation measures for small cetaceans were discussed today at the IWC meeting in Slovenia, with particular attention focused on the critically endangered vaquita. Environmental concerns, safety at sea and infractions were also on the agenda, and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Russia, USA and Japan.  These are some of the range states for the western North Pacific gray whale.  Collaboration between range states is crucial if this critically endangered population is to stand a chance of recovery.  A welfare work plan was also endorsed by consensus, and will pave the way for a new, intersessional welfare programme.


The International Whaling Commission

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is the global intergovernmental body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.  It is set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling signed in 1946.  The Commission has a current membership of 88 Governments from countries around the World.

In 1986 the Commission introduced zero catch limits for commercial whaling.  This provision is still in place today, although the Commission continues to set catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

As well as keeping whale catch limits under review, the Commission works to promote the recovery of depleted whale populations by addressing a range of specific issues.  These include ship strikes, entanglement events, environmental concerns and establishing protocols for whalewatching.

The pages on this website provide detailed information about the Commission, its meetings, decisions and its current work to conserve and manage whale populations throughout the world.


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