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Encyclopedia > International Whaling Commission
International Whaling Commission Logo
International Whaling Commission Logo

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW)[1] on December 2, 1946 to promote and maintain whale fishery stocks. The structural design of the IWC rested on the hope that states in their long-term self-interest would adopt cooperative policies suggested by expert scientific management of a common resource.[2] Since the 1980s the IWC has become the primary mechanism for the protection of all species of whale.[3] The change in the IWC's institutional mission began in the early 1970s, and is often linked with the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972. The result of this shift is most evident in the IWC's adoption of a five-year moratorium on commercial whaling, which commenced in 1986 and has been extended to the present, and in the IWC's recent designation of an Antarctic sanctuary for whales. Image File history File links IWCLogo. ... Image File history File links IWCLogo. ... The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is an international agreement (see environmental agreement) signed in 1946 designed to make whaling sustainable. ... December 2 is the 336th day (337th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... The term whale is ambiguous: it can refer to all cetaceans, to just the larger ones, or only to members of particular families within the order Cetacea. ... An international conference held in Stockholm Sweden, in June 1972, to discuss new understandings and concerns about the state of the global environment. ...   (IPA: ; UN/LOCODE: SE STO) is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. ... In law, a moratorium (from Latin morari, to delay) is a legal authorization postponing for a specified time the payment of debts or obligations. ... The crew of the oceanographic research vessel Princesse Alice, of Albert Grimaldi (later Prince Albert I of Monaco) pose while flensing a catch. ... Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earths South Pole. ... Sanctuary has multiple meanings. ...

The protective role the IWC has taken has come under strain since in the late 1980s, as various species of minke whale were argued to be sufficiently populous to allow limited hunts. The sharp controversy between those who wish to resume some whaling and those who in the main have been successful in denying any return to whaling has, as one consequence, led the pro-whaling nations to question the legitimacy of the IWC's decisions. Binomial name Balaenoptera acutorostrata Lacepede, 1804 Balaenoptera bonaerensis Burmeister, 1867 Minke Whale range Antarctic Minke Whale range Dwarf Minke Whale range The Minke Whale or Lesser Rorqual is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. ...


Structure and membership

Member states of the International Whaling Commission (in blue).
Member states of the International Whaling Commission (in blue).

The IWC was created by voluntary agreement among the member nations to function as the sole governing body with authority to act under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and to implement its economic and environmental goals. The role of the Commission is to periodically review and revise the Schedule to the Convention,[4] controlling the conduct of whaling by setting the protection of certain species; designating areas as whale sanctuaries; setting limits on the numbers and size of catches; prescribing open and closed seasons and areas for whaling; methods and intensity of whaling, types of gear to be used, methods of measurement and maximum catch returns. Under its constitutive document, the IWC is given the task of adopting regulations "to provide for the conservation, development, and optimum utilization of the whale resources" with the condition that such regulations "shall be based on scientific findings."[5] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1357x628, 30 KB)World map of International Whaling Commission (IWC) members/non-members, 2006; based on Image:BlankMap-World-v2. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1357x628, 30 KB)World map of International Whaling Commission (IWC) members/non-members, 2006; based on Image:BlankMap-World-v2. ... The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is an international agreement (see environmental agreement) signed in 1946 designed to make whaling sustainable. ... The crew of the oceanographic research vessel Princesse Alice, of Albert Grimaldi (later Prince Albert I of Monaco) pose while flensing a catch. ...

The headquarters of the IWC is in Cambridge, England. The Commission has three main committees — Scientific, Technical, and Finance and Administration. Shown within Cambridgeshire Geography Status City (1951) Region East of England Admin. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq...

Participation in the IWC is not limited only to states involved in commercial whaling. There are currently 70 members.[6]

Traditionally, the IWC meets annually, usually in May or June. Meetings are composed of one voting representative (called a Commissioner) from each state party who may be accompanied by experts and advisors. They are generally extremely divisive — demonstrating a complete split on all major issues between the pro-whaling nations and their supporters and the anti-whaling nations. The IWC's Rules of Procedure allow non-parties and intergovernmental organisations to attend the meetings and to be represented by observers if they have submitted a written request to the Secretary thirty days before the meeting or if they have attended previous meetings.[7] Non-governmental organisations that maintain offices in more than three countries may also attend the annual meetings of the IWC.[8] An international organization (also called intergovernmental organization) is an organization of international scope or character. ... A non-governmental organization (NGO) is an organization which is not a part of a government. ...

Annual meetings

Members of the IWC started meeting regularly in 1969. During the first 20 years, the annual meeting had been held in the United Kingdom. Starting in the late 1980s, the responsibility of hosting the meeting has been expanded among the members. For a list of the host cities, see Sites of International Whaling Commission annual meetings. Members of the International Whaling Commission started meeting regularly in 1969. ...

Evolution of the IWC

From its inception until the late 1960s, the IWC attempted to maintain world commercial whaling through a system of quotas in an effort to allow individual whale stocks to replenish in number. During the first twenty-five years of the IWC's existence, the organisation oversaw the continued overexploitation and depletion of whale stocks. The recommendations of the IWC Scientific Committee at that time, environmentalists allege, were distorted and ignored by the whaling states.[9] As a result, "whale stocks were regularly over-exploited, and scientific advice concerning sustaining catch limits was frequently ignored. When populations were finally protected from further hunting, it was usually after they had already collapsed."[10] Bold textHello ...

It was revealed in 1994 that the Soviet Union had been systematically underreporting the number of whales it took. For example, from 1948 to 1973, the Soviet Union killed 48,477 humpback whales rather than the 2,710 it officially reported to the IWC.[11] On the basis of this new information, the IWC stated that it would have to rewrite its catch figures for the last forty years.[12] According to Ray Gambell, the Secretary of the IWC at the time, the organisation had raised its suspicions of underreporting with the former Soviet Union, but it did not take further action because it could not interfere with national sovereignty.[13] Binomial name Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781) Humpback Whale range The Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whale suborder. ...

The 1970s saw the beginning of the global anti-whaling movement. The Commission was bombarded with declarations made by other international conventions recognising the dire plight of whales. In 1972 the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment[14] at Stockholm adopted a proposal that recommended a ten-year moratorium on commercial whaling to allow whale stocks to recover.[15] The reports of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species[16] in 1977 and 1981 identified many species of whales as being in danger of extinction. Finally, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, completed in 1982, provided inter alia that "states shall cooperate with a view to the conservation of marine mammals and in the case of whales shall in particular work through the appropriate international organizations for the conservation, management and study."[17] The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between Governments, drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). ... United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Opened for signature December 10, 1982 in Montego Bay (Jamaica) Entered into force November 16, 1994[1] Conditions for entry into force 60 ratifications Parties 149[2] For maritime law in general see Admiralty law. ...

A number of non-whaling and anti-whaling states joined the Convention and eventually gained a majority over a dwindling number of pro-whaling nations. Nations like the United States, previously considered major whaling forces, became strong proponents of the anti-whaling cause. These nations, along with the global community, called for the IWC to reform its policies and to incorporate newly discovered scientific data regarding whales in its proposed regulations.[18] By 1981, it became clear that the protectionist sentiment articulated in the Stockholm Conference had gained dominance within the IWC.

The 1986 moratorium

On 23 July 1982 the IWC voted with the necessary three-quarters majority to implement a pause on commercial whaling by adding the following paragraph to the schedule: July 23 is the 204th day (205th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 161 days remaining. ...

Not withstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10, catch limits for the killing for commercial purposes of whales from all stocks for the 1986 coastal and the 1985/86 pelagic seasons and thereafter shall be zero. This provision will be kept under review, based upon the best scientific advice, and by 1990 at the latest the Commission will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the effects of this decision on whale stocks and consider modification of this provision and the establishment of other catch limits.[19]

The moratorium passed by a 25 to 7 vote with 5 abstentions.[20]

Japan, Norway, Peru and the Soviet Union (later replaced by Russia) lodged an objection, since the moratorium was not based on advice from the Scientific Committee. Japan and Peru later withdrew their objections. In 2002 Iceland was allowed to rejoin IWC with a reservation to the moratorium (Iceland withdrew from IWC in 1992), but this reservation is not recognised as a valid objection by the anti-whaling countries.

However, the Convention grants special permits to allow whale killing for scientific purposes. Since 1986 only Norway, Iceland and especially Japan have been issued with permits, with Japan being the sole permit holder since 1995 as part of their 16-year programme. Norway lodged a protest to the zero catch limits in 1992 and has refused to abide by them. Japan's scientific whaling has often been called a front for the Japanese fondness for whale meat, which is considered a delicacy. The Japanese government points out that the IWC regulation specifically requires that whale meat obtained by scientific whaling does not goes waste, and uses this as their justification for the commercial selling of the scientifically-harvested whalemeat.

In May 1994, the IWC also voted to create an 11.8 million square mile sanctuary for whales in the Southern Ocean.[21] The vote was strong in adopting the sanctuary resolution (twenty-three in favor, one opposed and six abstentions).

Enforcement under the IWC

There are substantial constitutional limitations on the IWC's authority as to both lawmaking and compliance. First, the IWC is not based on international treaty, and therefore, any members countries are free to simply leave the organisation and declare themselves not to be bound by it if they so wish. Second, the IWC's power to "legislate" a moratorium or quotas is very restricted, because any member state may opt out of a quota or moratorium simply by objecting to it.[22] Third, the IWC has no authority or means to enforce any quotas, even on states that voluntarily put themselves under them.

The opt out provision

The ICRW provides for a prolonged objection procedure that allows one state to delay implementation of a regulation in all member states for three months. In addition, by simply lodging a timely objection, the state itself is completely exempted from the regulation. Specifically, Article V(3) states:

Each of such amendments shall become effective with respect to the Contracting Governments ninety days following notification of the amendment by the Commission ... except that if any Government presents to the Commission objection to any amendment prior to the expiration of this ninety-day period the amendment shall not become effective with respect to any of the Governments for an additional ninety days ... thereafter, the amendment shall become effective with respect to all Contracting Governments which have not presented objection but shall not become effective with respect to any Government which has so objected until such date as the objection is withdrawn.[23]

The scientific research exception

Pursuant to Article VIII, paragraph 1 of the Convention, any country that wishes to conduct scientific research on whales may invoke the scientific research provision as an exception to an IWC regulation. This provision provides:

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention, any Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that nation to kill, take, and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit and the kill, taking, and treating of whales in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be exempt from the operation of the Convention.[24]

Aboriginal subsistence whaling exception

The IWC says that aboriginal subsistence whaling "is of a different nature to commercial whaling. This is reflected in the different objectives for the two. For aboriginal subsistence whaling these are to: Aboriginal whaling is the hunting of whales carried out by aboriginal groups who have a tradition of whaling. ...

ensure risks of extinction not seriously increased (highest priority);
enable harvests in perpetuity appropriate to cultural and nutritional requirements;
maintain stocks at highest net recruitment level and if below that ensure they move towards it."

In order for a country to carry out a hunt under the aboriginal group clause, the nation must provide the IWC with evidence of "the cultural and subsistence needs of their people." In particular the hunt is not intended for commercial purposes and the caught meat cannot be exported.


There has been concern that the conflict between those who seek rational utilisation of whales and those who seek protection for every whale has placed a dangerous strain on the IWC. Oran Young and eight other noted scholars in the field asserted that "[c]hanges in the current [IWC] arrangements are inevitable," and that "the killing of whales for human consumption will continue, whether whalers operate within a reconstructed international whaling regime, opt to join alternative arrangements like NAMMCO, or seek to establish a hybrid system."[25]

Allegation of politicising science

The pro-whaling nations accused the IWC of basing these decisions upon "political and emotional" factors, rather than upon scientific knowledge. These nations allege that the IWC prohibits all whaling, even though the scientific community has concluded that some hunting of minke whales would be sustainable. They argue the IWC has swayed from its original purpose and is attempting, under the guise of conservation, to grant whales an entitlement to life, absolute protection from further utilisation.[26]

Non-whaling nations have expressed similar sentiments. Canada withdrew from the IWC after the vote to impose the moratorium, claiming that "[t]he ban was inconsistent with measures that had just been adopted by the IWC that were designed to allow harvests of stocks at safe levels."

After the moratorium entered into force in 1986, the Scientific Committee was commissioned to review the status of the whale stocks and develop a calculation method for setting safe catch limits. At the annual meeting of the IWC in 1991, the Scientific Committee submitted its finding that there are approximately 761,000 minke whales in Antarctic waters, 87,000 in the northeast Atlantic, and 25,000 in the north Pacific. With such populations, it was submitted, 2000 minke whales could be harvested per year without endangering the population. Nevertheless, the IWC Plenary committee voted to maintain the blanket moratorium on whaling, noting that formulas for determining allowable catches had not yet been adequately evaluated.

In 1991, acting on the recommendation of the Scientific committee, the IWC adopted a computerised formula, the Revised Management Procedure (RMP), for determining allowable catches of some whale species. Despite the fact that the RMP indicated that it would be possible to authorize a catch that year, the moratorium was not lifted. The IWC noted the need to agree on minimum standards for data, to prepare guidelines on the conduct of population surveys, and to devise and approve a system of measures for monitoring and inspection.

The IWC Plenary committee adopted the RMP in 1994, but decided not to implement it before an inspection and control scheme had been developed. This scheme, together with the RMP, is known as the Revised Management Scheme (RMS). Since then it has been all but impossible for the member countries in the Plenary committee to agree on an RMS.

Frustrated by this delay in the return to commercial whaling, with no sign of agreement on the RMS in sight, pro-whaling countries have accused some hard-line anti-whaling countries, such as United Kingdom and New Zealand, of not negotiating in good faith, insinuating that they are filibustering the adoption of an RMS by introducing unrealistic demands that will make the RMS unworkable. The accused countries respond by claiming that they only want to make sure best practices will be followed and that it is the pro-whaling countries that show unwillingness to compromise. These anti-whaling countries, which want the moratorium to be permanent, also face questions why they are participating in the discussions in the first place, since the whole objective of the RMS is to regulate commercial whaling. Their response is that the RMS and the moratorium are two separate issues, and should the moratorium be lifted against their will, they want the best possible management scheme in place. Thus a politically awkward situation could arise where the RMS and the moratorium co-exist.

Australia is the only member country of IWC who has officially announced its opposition to any RMS and is therefore not participating in the discussions. Anti-whaling NGOs, such as Greenpeace, are also generally against the RMS.

IWC Membership

The purpose of the IWC as specified in its constitution is "in safeguarding for future generations the great natural resources represented by the whale stocks;" and the original members consisted only of the 15 whale-hunting nations. However, since the late 1970s and early 1980s, many countries which have no previous history of whaling (some of which are landlocked such as Switzerland and Mongolia) have joined the IWC. This shift was first initiated by Peter Scott, the then head of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. Labelling the IWC a "butchers' club", he mounted lobbying campaigns in developed countries with support from the green lobby and anti whaling block of IWC members to change the composition of the IWC's membership, which was instrumental in obtaining the necessary three-quarters majority vote to implement the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. This campaign triggered the first accusations of vote-buying in IWC. According to Scott's biographer, Elspeth Huxley, China's decision to join was influenced by a World Wildlife Fund promise to provide $1 million to fund a panda reserve.[1][2] Dr. Michael Tillman, former IWC Commissioner of the United States, said in a radio interview that "there was what we called 'common knowledge,' that a number of countries joined and that their dues and the travel support was reportedly due to conservation groups providing it. So that, in a sense, one could say that the conservation groups set out a strategy that the Japanese copied."[3] WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund, which is still used by WWF-US and WWF-Canada) is a global environment conservation, research, environmental advocacy and restoration organization. ... WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund, which is still used by WWF-US and WWF-Canada) is a global environment conservation, research, environmental advocacy and restoration organization. ...

Since the moratiorium was adopted, the support for it has dropped from a 75% majority to a 50-50 split, with many of the countries initially recruited by the anti-whaling side now voting with the pro-whaling block. (A 75% majority is needed to overturn the moratorium.) Anti-whaling campaign groups and some governments claim that the Japanese Fisheries Agency has carried out a programme of "vote-buying" - i.e. offering aid to poorer countries in return for them joining the IWC and supporting Japanese positions on whaling. Specifically, Japan has given $320m in overseas aid to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guinea, Morocco, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis and the Solomon Islands. Caribbean countries have consistently sided with Japan in each IWC vote since 2001 though the Caribbean nations admit the rules may possibly impact on their fishing activities as well. Pacific countries' voting patterns vary even for each motion, as they are lobbied by neighbouring pro-whaling Japan and anti-whaling New Zealand and Australia. Greenpeace alleges that Japan's aid activities and these countries voting patterns are correlated. The fact that these poor countries, many of which have no history of whaling either culturally or commercially, are prepared to pay IWC membership and send delegates is assumed to be linked to aid from Japan. Greenpeace is an international environmental organization founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1971. ...

Both sides accuse each other of using underhanded tatics to pack the commission with countries sympathetic to their position (either pro- or anti-). Edwin Snagg, the IWC commissioner for St Vincent and the Grenadines stated, "It's a question of respect,....Because you are small and because you are underdeveloped there is this view and there is this feeling that you can easily be bought and you can easily be sold. We in the Caribbean feel highly offended." [4] Moreover, there are non-developed countries who support an anti-whaling stance. BBC reported that "Some countries recently admitted to the European Union have been advised by a "word in the ear" that it would be "a good idea" for them to join the IWC. Some activists believe that Britain and its fellow EU old-timers such as France and Germany should recruit all member states into the Commission." [5] In New Zealand, National Nine News reported that "New Zealand is questioning pro-whaling support among Pacific Island states with the opposition calling for a rethink of foreign aid." [6] It is expected that more countries in the future will join IWC including some landlocked countries. Currently, there are 8 landlocked IWC members. Mali and Mongolia voted with other pro-whaling countries. Austria, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Switzerland and San Marino voted with other anti-whaling countries. The British Broadcasting Corporation, invariably known as the BBC (and also informally known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest public broadcasting corporation in the world. ...

Both pro- and anti-whaling countries claim that their recuriting activities are restricted to lobbying and persuasion based on the merits of their cause. Anti-whaling campaigners argue that scienctific studies are not currently clear enough to warrant resumption of commercial whaling. Moreover there are various other issues such as welfare of whales which is beyond the simple matter of conservation. (See The arguments for and against whaling) These issues have global relevance which is not restricted only to whaling and whaling countries. Moreover, public opinion in many anti-whaling countries is solidly behind the governmental position on whaling within the IWC. Pro-whaling countries, on the other hand, argue that the public's anti-whaling stance is often based on misinformation. A poll commissioned and financed by the Japanese government indicated that most Australians think there is only one species of whale which is endangered. [7] The crew of the oceanographic research vessel Princesse Alice, of Albert Grimaldi (later Prince Albert I of Monaco) pose while flensing a catch. ...

Moreover, coastal countries have a vested interest in conserving their fish stocks which may be threatened by whales. (This claim is strongly contested by the anti-whaling lobby). Japan, particularly when lobbying African nations, argues that diversification of the anti-whaling argument outside of conservation is a threat to their national interest. Exploitation of wildlife resources (such as elephant ivory, sea turtles or primates) are restricted supposedly on the ground of sustainable management. Alleged filibustering of the Revised Management Scheme and diversification of arguments outside of conservation by the anti-whaling side is alleged to be a sign that anti-whaling countries no longer adhere to this principle (of sustainable management and exploitation of natural resources). The Japanese argue that the African countries and whaling countries have a shared interest in preventing the principle of sustainable management being exploited as a cover for animal rights arguments. It is also pointed out that "owing to the economic power of the US and the UK, CITES was forced to list perfectly healthy species of whales (over the objections of its secretariat), along with legitimately endangered species, on its banned list. This has severely eroded CITES’ credibility, especially in the world’s developing countries, where hundreds of animal species are mortally endangered."[8] In a legislature or other decision making body, a filibuster is an attempt to extend debate upon a proposal in order to delay or completely prevent a vote on its passage. ...

When allegations of vote-buying by Japan were aired at the London IWC meeting in 2001 by the New Zealand delegate to the commission, Sandra Lee-Vercoe, the Japanese delegate unsurprisingly denied the allegations. Masayuki Komatsu said "Japan gives foreign aid to more than 150 nations around the world and that includes strong anti-whaling nations such as Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and others who receive far more aid than the Caribbean nations [..] If Japan was buying votes, you would see 150 nations in the IWC and as a consequence the unnecessary moratorium would have been lifted years ago." Komatsu also said that Caribbean countries naturally supported pro-whaling resolutions as they are whaling countries themselves (mostly of smaller cetaceans) and that the New Zealand commissioner was inventing "fairy stories". Sandra Rose Te Hakamatua Lee-Vercoe (née Lee) (8 August 1952 - ) is currently New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue, and was formerly deputy leader of the Alliance party. ...

In response to this rebuttal, anti-whaling groups pointed to several statements that apparently conflict with the official Japanese position. In an interview reported in The Observer newspaper in May 2001, Atherton Martin, Dominica's former Environment and Fisheries Minister said "They [Japan] make it clear, that if you don't vote for them, they will have to reconsider the aid. They use money crudely to buy influence." Martin resigned because of the issue. Greenpeace also quotes Tongan parliamentarian Samiu K Vaipulu as saying that Japan had linked whale votes to aid. Lester Bird, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, had said "Quite frankly I make no bones about it...if we are able to support the Japanese, and the quid pro quo is that they are going to give us some assistance, I am not going to be a hypocrite; that is part of why we do so". In an interview with Australian ABC television in July 2001, Japanese Fisheries Agency official Maseyuku Komatsu described that Minke Whales as "cockroaches of the sea". The Sydney Morning Herald reported that he further stated "lacking military might, his country had to use the tools of diplomacy and promises of development aid to "get appreciation of Japan's position" on whaling. Billions of yen have flowed to countries that joined the IWC. But European history weighs heavily on these countries, too. They point to the recruiting of rich nations by the anti-whaling side. "It already brings back the time when we were colonised," says Clarice Charles, of Grenada. "Would these rich nations give a poor fisherman a revolving loan or a grant or a gift so that he can buy [a tourist boat] to go whale watching?" [9] Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Lester Bryant Bird (born February 21, 1938) was Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda from 1994 to 2004 and a well-known athlete. ... Binomial name Balaenoptera acutorostrata Lacepede, 1804 Balaenoptera bonaerensis Burmeister, 1867 Minke Whale range Antarctic Minke Whale range Dwarf Minke Whale range The Minke Whale or Lesser Rorqual is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. ...

In Japan, especially within conservative media outlets (the most vocal ones being Sankei Shimbun and Bungei Shunju), it is argued that countries which oppose commercial whaling altogether should not be in the IWC at all and allege that the anti-whaling side has subverted the purpose of the IWC by exploiting the (lack of) membership requirements. Moreover, they point out that the anti-whaling lobby within the IWC are also led by wealthy developed nations and are equally susceptible to accusations of vote-buying and influence-peddling. The anti-whaling side within IWC are accused of using conservation as a cover for their ideological opposition to whaling itself, which mirrors the accusation from the anti-whaling side that Japan's scientific whaling is a cover for commercial whaling. Since 2000, 29 new countries have joined the IWC, 18 of them pro-whaling, 11 anti.[10] Japan notes that major anti-whaling nations such as the U.S. Australia, UK and New Zealand also donate aid to poor countries on the IWC and wield far more influence than Japan alone and thus they could easily be accused of the same tactics. Moreover, Japan is pushing to have secret ballot voting. Had the allegations of vote-buying been true, such proposal would run counter to its alleged objective because it is impossible to monitor so called client members' vote. From Japan's point of view, secret ballot voting is the only way to counter the influence pedling of anti whaling side which Japan see as having more powerful collective influence within the IWC. One of the new 2006 members, Israel, currently receives more than 3 billion dollars a year in aid from the United states and who voted consistently with the anti-whaling bloc, was asked specifically to join by the US. Belize, a country previously accused of having their vote bought and paid for by Japan by a number of countries and NGO's, shifted side and consistently voted with the anti-whaling block at the 2006 IWC meeting. Anti-whaling nations oppose secret ballot voting on the grounds that it is without precedent in other international bodies and would have removed accountability and made behind-the-scenes deals between delegations more likely.[27] St Kitts and Nevis Commissioner, Cedric Liburd, pointed out to various anti whaling counties during debate on the secret ballot vote on the first day of the 2006 meeting in St Kitts that it was extremely hypocritical of such countries to pontificate on the need for transparency within the IWC by open voting when such countries quite happily voted via secret ballot in CITES, a similar management body. Sankei Shimbun (産経新聞 Sakei Shinbun) is a Japanese language daily newspaper. ... The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between Governments, drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). ...

Role of the United States

The effectiveness of IWC decisions (at least on smaller whaling states) may be explained in large part by the fact that the United States was willing to act unilaterally in support of them. Pro whaling side, on the other hand, often see it U.S. tactics to act outside of IWC framework as bullying tactics, while the green and the conservation lobby tend to applaud it.

The United States furthered the aims of the IWC first through the 1971 Pelly Amendment[28] to the Fisherman's Protective Act of 1967.[29] This amendment provides that, when the Secretary of Commerce determines that the nationals of a foreign country are diminishing the effectiveness of an international fishery conservation program (including the IWC's program), the Secretary shall certify this fact to the President. The President then has the discretion to ban importation of fishing products from the offending country. The United States threatened sanctions under the Pelly Amendment in a number of instances. In November 1974, pressure from the United States led Japan and the Soviet Union to abide by the 1974-1975 quotas.[30] Similarly, in December 1978, Chile, South Korea and Peru accede to the IWC as a result of threats to certify those countries. The threatened certification of Spain also led that country to observe a fin whale quota to which it had objected. The office of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the mid-20th century. ... Binomial name Balaenoptera physalus (Linneus, 1758) Fin Whale range The Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus), also called the Finback Whale, is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whales suborder. ...

These measures were further strengthened by the 1979 Packwood-Magnuson Amendment[31] to the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.[32] It provides that, when the Secretary of Commerce certifies that a country is diminishing the effectiveness of the work of the IWC, the Secretary of State must reduce that country's fishing allocation in U.S. waters by at least 50%. Certification under the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment also serves as certification under the Pelly Amendment.[33] The threatened application in 1980 of the Packwood-Magnuson and Pelly Amendments led South Korea to agree to follow IWC guidelines restricting the use of cold (i.e., non-explosive) harpoons.[34] Faced with similar pressure, the Republic of China (Taiwan) placed a complete ban on whaling in 1981. Without United States support, it's possible that the 1986 moratorium would have been substantially limited, as nations such as Iceland, Japan, Norway and the Soviet Union would have opted out and continued commercial whaling.[35] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. ... Motto: None Anthem(s): National Anthem of the Republic of China Capital Taipei City (de facto) Nanjing (de jure)1 Largest city Taipei City Official language(s) Mandarin (GuóyÇ”) Government Semi-presidential system  - President Chen Shui-bian  - Vice President Annette Lu  - Premier Su Tseng-chang Establishment Xinhai Revolution   - Declared...

North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission

Norwegian Minke Whale quotas (blue line, 1994-2006) and catches (red line, 1946-2005).
Norwegian Minke Whale quotas (blue line, 1994-2006) and catches (red line, 1946-2005).

Moratorium on commercial whaling led Iceland to withdraw in protest from IWC, as it had threatened to do if the moratorium was extended. Both Japan and Norway also threatened to leave the organisation. In April 1992, the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) was established by the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway under the Agreement on Cooperation in Research, Conservation and Management of Marine Mammals in the North Atlantic. The document clearly responded to what the drafters regarded as inappropriate whale protectionist tendencies of the IWC. Gudmundur Eiriksson of Iceland stated at NAMMCO's inaugural meeting that the organisation was established in part out of dissatisfaction with the IWC's zero-catch quota.[36] Although NAMMCO does not conflict directly with the obligations of merbership states under the IWC, it nonetheless presented a challenge to the legitimacy of the IWC. Image File history File links NorwegianWhaleCatches. ... Image File history File links NorwegianWhaleCatches. ... The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) is an international body for co-operation on conservation, management and study of marine mammals in the North Atlantic. ...

Ray Gambell, then the Secretary of the IWC, agreed at least in part with the argument of the pro-whaling nations: "In all reasonableness, we would have to say that a commercial catch could be taken without endangering [Minke] stocks."[37] In June 1993 the Chairman of the Scientific Committee, Dr Philip Hammond, resigned in protest to what he saw as contempt of the Scientific Committee’s recommendations. The same year Norway became the only state in the world to resume commercial whaling, on the grounds that they had objected to, and thus opted out, of the moratorium.

Recent developments

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Please update the article to reflect recent events, and remove this template when finished. Image File history File links Current_event_marker. ...

In 2003 IWC members adopted the "Berlin Initiative" which called for the setting up a conservation committee to monitor the survival prospects of all cetacean species rather than just the large whale species as it had previously done. Japan says that the Commission was expanding beyond the remit granted it by the 1946 and threatened to withhold part of its membership fee; saying that it could not support the new committee. Image File history File links Nuvola_apps_important. ... Suborders Mysticeti Odontoceti Archaeoceti (extinct) (see text for families) The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. ...

In 2002 in contrast the votes went in the direction of the pro-whaling lobby, when the Commission rejected proposals to specify "whale sanctuaries" - areas where no whale could be hunted for any purpose - in the parts of the South Pacific and South Atlantic.

June 2005 meeting

The meeting in Ulsan, South Korea from 20-24 June 2005 had several particularly divisive matters to discuss and votes to take. Notable among them was: Ulsan, a metropolitan city in the south-east of South Korea, lies on the Sea of Japan (East Sea), 70 kilometres north of Busan at the geographical location 35°33′ N 129°19′ E. In the past the city operated as a major center of Korean whaling, which led to... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

  • the proposal by Japan to have secret ballot voting, which was interpreted as a measure by Japan to allow its protégé member states to vote in a way that was less transparent, and this was defeated (Vote held on 20 June 2005)
  • the proposal by Japan to re-institute commercial whaling, which would have required a three quarters majority to carry the vote, was defeated 29 votes to 23 against (Vote held on 21 June 2005)
  • the proposal by Japan to remove a decade old Southern Ocean whale sanctuary, which was defeated 30 votes against 25 (Vote held on 22 June 2005)

Responding to Japan's stated intentions of increasing their scientific whaling quota, Australia also introduced a non-binding resolution that calls on Japan to halt the expansion of its scientific whaling program, which was supported by 30 votes to 25 (Vote held on 22 June 2005). Opponents of scientific whaling claim it is commercial whaling under a different name. New Zealand's Minister of Conservation, Chris Carter, said, "We find (the) whole use of the phrase 'scientific whaling' an outrage." [11] Japan, however, claims that their research activities contribute to scientific knowledge of the management of whales. In the face of these setbacks, Japan has not ruled out withdrawing from the IWC, but this would require approval by the Japanese parliament. [12] The Polling by William Hogarth (1755); Before the secret ballot was introduced voter intimidation was commonplace Wikisource has original text related to this article: A History of the Australian Ballot System in the United States The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voters choices are confidential. ... Voting is a method of decision making wherein a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... June 20 is the 171st day of the year (172nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 194 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 21 is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 193 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 22 is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 192 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 22 is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 192 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The New Zealand Cabinet functions as the policy and decision-making body of the New Zealand governments executive branch. ... Chris Carter Christopher Joseph Carter is a New Zealand politician and a member of Cabinet. ...

In Australia, the famous white or albino humpback whale Migaloo was swimming up the east coast in the week before the IWC meeting, and was sighted and photographs published in many newspapers and on television, motivating public opinion strongly behind the Australian Government's stand at the IWC meeting against whaling, led by Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell. [13] Binomial name Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781) Humpback Whale range The Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whale suborder. ... The government of Australia was established in 1901 by the Australian Constitution. ... The Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) is a department of the Australian federal government. ... Australian Senate chamber Entrance to the Senate The Senate is the upper of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia. ... Ian Gordon Campbell (born 22 May 1959), Australian politician, has been a Liberal member of the Australian Senate since May 1990, representing Western Australia. ...

June 2006 meeting

The 2006 IWC Commissioners meeting was held June 16-20 in St Kitts and Nevis. Pro whaling countries challenged the 1982 moratorium and as expected, lost. A full provisional meeting agenda can be seen here :[14] (PDF) Live coverage of the Meeting is available here: [15]

1st Day, 16th of June 2006

Of the two votes proposed by Japan on the first day, both were defeated by narrow majorities. 30-32 in the case of removing small cetaceans from IWC competence and 30-33 on the proposal to introduce secret ballots. A number of countries, Costa Rica, Gambia, Peru, Togo and others either were not present at the vote or had not completed their registration procedures/fees payments before the votes. At least three of these countries have now arrived and/or completed their registration and are now eligible to vote, suggesting that the voting on resolutions may be much closer for the remainder of the meeting.

2nd Day, 17th of June 2006

The Bowhead whale stock from which the Alaskans take their quota is now estimated to be 10,500 with a growth rate of more than 3%. Apparently a record number of calves were counted in the recent survey work. Greenland voluntarily introduced a reduction in fin whales taken following advice from the IWC Scientific committee (IWC SC) that the catch of 19 animals may not be a safe level of catch and noted that this left Greenland with a shortfall of 220 tons of whalemeat from their quota of 670 tons. They made enquiries into the stock levels of Humpback whales and Bowhead whales around Greenland with the possible intent of opening up a hunt eventually on these two species to make up the shortfall. This of course alarmed anti-whaling countries and NGO's immediately, as seen from this Reuters report [16]. Binomial name Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758 Bowhead Whale range The Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus), also known as Greenland Right Whale or Arctic Whale, is a marine mammal of the order Cetacea. ... Binomial name Balaenoptera physalus (Linneus, 1758) Fin Whale range The Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus), also called the Finback Whale, is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whales suborder. ... Binomial name Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781) Humpback Whale range The Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whale suborder. ... Binomial name Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758 Bowhead Whale range The Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus), also known as Greenland Right Whale or Arctic Whale, is a marine mammal of the order Cetacea. ...

The RMS was discussed yet again in depth to no avail, with the chaiman of the IWC, Henrik Fischer, noting that RMS discussions are at an impasse and that he will close discussion on the RMS on the afternoon of the 18th of June if nobody comes up with any new ideas. Japan suggested a meeting to discuss the " normalisation" of the IWC, which was commented / debated upon in detail, resulting in the agreement of many countries to attend any arranged meeting with open minds.

Japan proposed a schedule amendment regarding its coastal whaling communities to take a small number of Minke whales From the "O" Stock. After much discussion, the proposal was defeated with 30 votes for the proposal and 31 votes against with 4 abstentions. (As a schedule amendment, the proposal would have required a three quarters majority to pass.) Binomial name Balaenoptera acutorostrata Lacepede, 1804 Balaenoptera bonaerensis Burmeister, 1867 Minke Whale range Antarctic Minke Whale range Dwarf Minke Whale range The Minke Whale or Lesser Rorqual is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. ...

3rd Day, 18th of June 2006

Discussion of the southern ocean sanctuary as well as a Caribbean sanctuary proposed by France. The vote on whether to remove the southern ocean sanctuary was defeated by 28-33 with 5 abstentions. The French delegate was verbally denounced by a number of Caribbean nations for not discussing their proposed sanctuary with any of the other Caribbean nations in advance of their proposal and the proposal was not voted upon. The St Kitts and Nevis Declaration [17] was discussed and voted upon, and adopted with 33 votes in favour, 32 against, and one abstention, the first time in more than two decades that the Whaling Commission has expressed support for commercial whaling. The Declaration declared the moratorium on whaling "no longer necessary". World map depicting Caribbean: West Indies redirects here. ... World map depicting Caribbean: West Indies redirects here. ... Saint Kitts and Nevis is an island nation in the Caribbean. ...


  1. ^ International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, with Schedule of Whaling Regulations, 2 December 1946, 62 Stat. 1716, 161 UNTS 72.
  2. ^ See Protocol to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 19 November 1956, 10 UST 952, 338 UNTS 366; Circular Communication to All Contracting Governments, 30 June 1972, 23 UST 2820.
  3. ^ Patricia Birnie, International Regulation of Whaling: From Conservation of Whaling to Conservation of Whales and Regulation of Whale-watching (New York: Oceana Publications, 1985)
  4. ^ Article I(1) of the ICRW incorporates the Schedule (as amended) into the Convention as an integral part thereof.
  5. ^ ICRW, note 1, Art. V(2).
  6. ^ Current (2006) members are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, People's Republic of China, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Gabon, The Gambia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Republic of Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kiribati, Luxembourg, Mali, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States.
  7. ^ Rules of Procedure of the International Whaling Commission, IWC, P B(2)(a)-(b) (2000).
  8. ^ Note 6, P B(2)(a)-(b) (2000).
  9. ^ William C. Burns, "The International Whaling Commission and the Future of Cetaceans: Problems and Prospects" (1997) 8 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 31 at 31.
  10. ^ Alexander Gillespie, "The Ethical Question in the Whaling Debate" (1997) 9 Georgia International Environmental Law Review 355 at 355.
  11. ^ Natalie Angier, "DNA Tests Find Meat of Endangered Whales for Sale in Japan", New York Times, Sept. 13, 1994, at C4.
  12. ^ David Hearst, "Soviet Files Hid Systematic Slaughter of World Whale Herds", Gazette (Montreal), Feb. 12, 1994, at D9.
  13. ^ David Williams, "We Didn't Know About the Whale Slaughter", Agence Fr. Presse, Feb. 23, 1994.
  14. ^ Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment, U.N. Doc. A/Conf.49/14/Rev.1, 11 I.L.M. 1416 (1972).
  15. ^ Stockholm Action Plan, Recommendation 33, UN Doc. A/CONF.49/14/Rev.1, 11 I.L.M. 1421 (1972).
  16. ^ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ofWild Fauna and Flora, Mar. 6, 1973, 27 U.S.T. 1087, 993 U.N.T.S. 243
  17. ^ United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Dec. 10, 1982, 1833 U.N.T.S. 3.
  18. ^ Judith Berger-Eforo, "Sanctuary for the Whales: Will This be the Demise of the International Whaling Commission or a Viable Strategy for the Twenty-First Century?" (1996) 8 Pace International Law Review 439 at 442.
  19. ^ International Whaling Commission Schedule, para. 10(e)).
  20. ^ The countries voting in favor of the moratorium included Antigua, Australia, Belize, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Senegal, the Seychelles, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The seven countries voting against the measure were Brazil, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Peru, South Korea and the USSR. Chile, China, the Philippines, South Africa and Switzerland abstained.
  21. ^ Debora MacKenzie, "Whales win southern sanctuary", New Scientist, June 4, 1994, at 7.
  22. ^ " [Any] amendment [to the ICRW] shall become effective with respect to all Contracting Governments which have not presented objection but shall not become effective with respect to any Government which has so objected until such date as the objection is withdrawn." Id., para. 3. Contracting states also may withdraw from the organization. Id., Art. XI.
  23. ^ ICRW, note 1, art. V(3).
  24. ^ ICRW, note 1, art. VII.
  25. ^ Oran R. Young, Milton M. R. Freeman, Gail Osherenko, Raoul R. Anderson, Richard A. Caulfield, Robert L. Friedheim, Steve J. Langdon, Mats Ris & Peter J. Usher, "Subsistence, Sustainability, and Sea Mammals: Reconstructing the International Whaling Regime" (1994) 23 Ocean and Coastal Management 117 at 124.
  26. ^ See Anthony D'Amato and Sudhir K. Chopra, "Whales: Their Emerging Right to Life" (1991) 85 American Journal of International Law 21.
  27. ^ http://news.inq7.net/world/index.php?index=1&story_id=41024
  28. ^ Pub. L. No. 92-219, 85 Stat. 786 (codified as amended at 22 U.S.C. § 1978 (1988)).
  29. ^ 22 U.S.C. §§ 1979-1980 (1988).
  30. ^ See "Not Saving the Whales: President Ford Refuses to Ban Fish Imports from Nations Which Have Violated International Whaling Quotas", 5 Environmental Law Report 10,044-47 (1975).
  31. ^ Pub. L. No. 96-61, § 3(a), 93 Stat. 407 (codified at 16 U.S.C. § 1821(e)(2) (1988)).
  32. ^ 16 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1882 (1988).
  33. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 1821(e)(2)(A).
  34. ^ Preparations for the 34th International Whaling Commission Meeting: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 97th Congress, 2d Session 11 (1982).
  35. ^ David D. Caron, "International Sanctions, Ocean Management and the Law of the Sea: A Study of Denial of Access to Fishing" (1989) 16 Ecology Law Quarterly 311.
  36. ^ Gudmundur Eiriksson, "The Legal and Political Position of NAMMCO", in Report of the Inaugural Meeting of the Council of NAMMCO, App. III (Sept. 10, 1992)
  37. ^ T. R. Reid, "World Whaling Body Riven by Dispute; Norway Threatens to End Moratorium", Washington Post, May 15, 1993, at A17.

External links

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