Change text size
Choose your language:

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.

News from the IWC

The whale entanglement response network extends to the Dominican Republic

16 Apr 2014

The latest IWC entanglement response network training concluded successfully on 4 April, 2014.  The two-day event was the first in the Dominican Republic, whose waters are the primary breeding ground for the majority of North Atlantic humpback whales during the winter.  


IWC Member Map

A map showing all the member countries

Key to map: = current member, = former member (click sides of map to scroll)


Ship Strikes

Whale Watching