Choose your language:

75 years of the IWC

The IWC has started the year with the introduction of a new logo, commemorating 2021 as the 75th anniversary of the organisation. 

Established in 1946, the IWC has grown from a membership of 15 to 88 governments.  The mandate of the organisation is unchanged: regulation of whaling and conservation of whale stocks.  What has changed are the threats to whale stocks.  The work programme of the IWC has evolved and expanded in response to the ever-changing environment, and the IWC now undertakes work on a wide range of scientific, conservation and welfare issues.

Today, bycatch and entanglement are widely considered to be the biggest threats to cetacean populations and welfare.  Whales must also contend with ship strikes, ocean noise, marine debris, chemical pollution and of course, climate change.  These threats were largely non-existent when the IWC was formed.

Whilst disagreements over commercial whaling have been well-documented, the many areas of collaboration and progress are often unreported, and the IWC hopes to use this anniversary year to share the story of its evolution, and raise awareness of today’s broad and challenging work programme.