International Whaling Commission

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in 1946. The purpose of the Convention is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and development of the whaling industry. At their annual meeting the Commission passed a resolution condemning Japan’s whaling programme for scientific research in the Antarctic, which catches nearly 1000 whales per year. The Commission has also been considering aboriginal subsistence whaling.

The Commission’s report of the Scientific Committee on the status of a number of large whale stocks, received new information on Antarctic minke whales, North Pacific common minke whales, Southern Hemisphere humpback whales, Southern Hemisphere blue whales and a number of other small stocks of bowhead, right and gray whales. There was positive evidence of increases in abundance for several of the stocks of humpback, blue and right whales in the Southern Hemisphere, although they remain at reduced levels compared to their pre-whaling numbers. Information remains lacking for other stocks.