International Whaling Commission - IWC

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling. The IWC was set up as the governing body under the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. The preamble to the Convention states its purpose is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.

In 1982, concerned about the serious decline of whale populations, the IWC adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling. While whaling and the consumption of whale meat and other products have slowed considerably, whaling still happens—either as Aboriginal subsistence whaling, scientific whaling, under official objection to the 1982 moratorium, or by non-IWC members. The Commission's role has expanded since its establishment. In addition to regulating whaling, the IWC addresses a wide range of conservation issues including bycatch and entanglement, ocean noise, pollution and debris, collision between whales and ships, and sustainable whale watching.


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