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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.  



Growing success: the IWC Global Whale Entanglement Response Network

20 Apr 2015

IWC’s Global Whale Entanglement Response Network is meeting officially for the first time at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown.   Concern over the rising number of reported entanglements worldwide, the prolonged suffering caused, and the risk posed to humans attempting to release whales, led the IWC to develop an entanglement response capacity-building programme.  The programme began in 2012 and is a partnership with CCS who provide expertise, facilities and tools.  This month, a workshop will enable the experts who devised the programme to evaluate it with some of the new responders they helped to train.



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