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International Whaling Commission (IWC)

Topics covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


International Whaling Commission (IWC)


What to study?

  • For Prelims: About IWC- composition, functions and significance.
  • For Mains: Moratorium on commercial whaling, concerns over Japan’s move and the way ahead.


Context: Japan is considering pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).



Such a move would spark international criticism against Japan over whale conservation and deepen the divide between anti- and pro-whaling countries.



Tokyo currently observes the moratorium but exploits a loophole to kill hundreds of whales every year for “scientific purposes” as well as to sell the meat.


About IWC:

It is an international body set up under International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).

  • ICRW governs the commercial, scientific, and aboriginal subsistence whaling practices of fifty-nine member nations. It was signed in Washington, D.C., United States, in 1946.
  • Headquarters — Impington, near Cambridge, England.
  • In 1986, it adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling. This ban still continues.


Whale sanctuary:

In 1994, it created the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary surrounding the continent of Antarctica. Here, the IWC has banned all types of commercial whaling.

Only two such sanctuaries have been designated by IWC till date. Another is Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary by the tiny island nation of the Seychelles.



  • To provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks.
  • For orderly development of the whaling industry.


Sources: the hindu.