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The International Whaling Commission

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.  The IWC currently has 88 member governments from countries all over the world.  All members are signatories to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.  This Convention is the legal framework which established the IWC in 1946. 

Uncertainty over whale numbers led to the introduction of a ‘moratorium’ on commercial whaling in 1986.  This remains in place although the Commission continues to set catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling.  Today, the Commission also works to understand and address a wide range of non-whaling threats to cetaceans including entanglement, ship strike, marine debris, climate change and other environmental concerns.  



A very real test for IWC's entanglement apprentices

6 Aug 2015

This week at the Coastal Studies Center, Provincetown, the training of two apprentices from Mexico was overtaken by a real and complex whale entanglement. Karel Beets and Ricky Rebolledo of Mexico's RABEN Entanglement Response Team had joined the CCS experts to advance their knowledge and skills through an IWC global capacity-building programme.  Their training was thoroughly tested on Sunday when a young humpback was spotted in very poor condition, trailing a large amount of fishing gear from its mouth.  The apprentices joined the CCS team and were able to play active roles in the 11 hour operation.



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