What is the International Whaling Commission? Print E-mail
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in Washington on 2 December 1946. It is most famous for implementing an international moratorium on all commercial whaling after whaling populations were decimated by decades of unsustainable hunting. However, despite the international moratorium, the nations of Japan, Norway and Iceland carry on whaling. All 3 countries are exploiting loopholes in the Whaling Convention in order to kill nearly 2000 whales each year.

Norway hunts whales under its objection to the moratorium, Japan has been whaling under the guise of "scientific research" and Iceland resumed commercial whaling, taking fin and minke whales, last year.

There are currently 73 member countries in the IWC with current membership approximately evenly divided between whaling and non-whaling nations, resulting in a political deadlock which makes it impossible to secure the ¾ majority of votes needed to make major changes.

Whaling is taking place and increasing yearly without any international control. Whilst the debate has raged over how best to manage commercial whaling, emerging threats to the future of whale, dolphin and porpoise populations have also begun to be addressed by the IWC. Over 300,000 whales and dolphins are caught and killed in fishing nets each year. Bycatch, like whaling, removes animals permanently from the wild population.

For some populations, bycatch has replaced whaling as the biggest cause of mortality. Climate change may also impact the areas of the oceans in which whales live, and affect migration patterns. Climate change, depletion of the ozone layer and the related rise in UV radiation may also lead to a fall in the population of krill, a primary food source for many marine species.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 April 2008 08:26 )
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