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IWC66 Plenary Begins in Slovenia

As the IWC celebrates its 70th birthday, the 2016 biennial plenary meeting opened in the coastal town of Portorož.  For the second time, the meeting is generously hosted by the Government of Slovenia, and began with welcoming addresses from the Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Mrs Irena Majcen, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Darja Bavdaž Kuret, and Deputy Mayor of Piran, Mrs Meira Hot.

Over five days, the Commission will consider one proposed Schedule Amendment and seven proposed Resolutions, as well as reports on the intersessional work of its six committees and working groups.

Today, the Commission received presentations on the intersessional work of the Scientific and Conservation Committees.

The large and diverse research programme of the fourteen Scientific Committee working groups was introduced by the Chair of the Committee, Dr Caterina Fortuna of Italy.  Two annual meetings, more than 10 workshops and some 600 pages of Scientific Committee reports were summarised, covering topics from Population Status and Structure, to Environmental Concerns and Small Cetaceans.  The Commission acknowledged the importance of this work and seriousness of recommendations made by the Scientific Committee. 

The Chair of the Conservation Committee, Dr Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, presented a summary of the rapidly expanding Conservation Committee work programme which includes bycatch, marine debris, strandings response, conservation management plans, ship strikes and whale watching.  The Commission recognised the increasing range of cetacean conservation concerns and the corresponding growth of this Committee, and commended intersessional work to develop a strategic plan.

Both Committees reported their conclusions on a proposed Schedule Amendment to Establish a Whale Sanctuary in the South Atlantic which will return to Plenary tomorrow (Tuesday).

Two Resolutions were also introduced, the first on Enhancing the Effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission, and the second on Improving the Review Process for Whaling under Special Permit. 

To read the presentation of the Scientific Committee click here.

To read the presentation of the Conservation Committee click here.

Click here to read the text of the proposed Schedule Amendment, Resolution on the Effectiveness of the IWC, and Resolution on Improving the Review Process for Whaling under Special Permit.