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The IWC Scientific Committee begins its annual meeting today.   This will be the third virtual gathering of the Committee since the start of the global pandemic in 2020, and the Committee has once again worked hard to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on its busy and challenging agenda.

The Scientific Committee has met every year since 1955.  It brings together international experts in a wide range of topics, ranging from population abundance, structure and status to the impacts of human activities such as fishing and whale watching.

As many organisations have discovered, remote meetings pose a number of challenges but also offer benefits, particularly accessibility.  Attendance at Scientific Committee meetings usually fluctuates between 120 and 200 scientists.  Last year’s virtual format attracted over 500 participants from more than 30 countries, reinforcing efforts to increase transparency, accessibility and understanding of the IWC’s scientific work programme.  More than 450 people have registered for this year's meeting and the number is likely to rise as the sessions get underway.

The meeting will begin today with a plenary session.  Thereafter, there will be two slots scheduled each day and three different sessions running concurrently in each slot.  Provision has also been made for some small, in-person meetings to follow the main virtual meeting, in order to address complex topics which are harder to cover in a remote forum. Closing plenary sessions are scheduled for 12 and 13 May although the meeting will not formally close until the timetable for any subsequent in-person meetings has been agreed. The report of the meeting will be published approximately three weeks after the meeting ends and available here. 

For more information about the IWC Scientific Committee meeting, click here.

To read previous reports of the IWC Scientific Committee, click here.