The International Whaling Commission 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 89 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.
In June, more than 200 cetacean scientists from all over the world will collaborate at the annual IWC Scientific Committee meeting. Science underpins every aspect of the IWC’s work on conservation and management. Since 1950, its Scientific Committee has met annually to bring together information and expertise from every continent. For about two weeks, the Committee and its working groups will hold over 100 sessions, covering all aspects of conservation and management including: the status of individual whale populations; ecosystem modelling; impacts of hunting, entanglement and ship strikes; health and disease; effects of noise; implications of climate change; and oil spill response capacity. The draft agenda and submitted papers can be found here. The Committee’s reports provide the scientific basis for IWC policymaking, and final reports are publicly available via this website http://iwc.int/reports.