Slovenia takes over the presidency of the International Whaling Commission

Last week marked the end of the biennial 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Florianopolis, Brazil, where Slovenian took over the 2-year presidency of the Commission from Japan. The International Whaling Commission was set up based on the Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, signed in Washington on 2 December 1946. Slovenia became a member of the IWC in 2006. IWC member states are divided to those that oppose different types of whaling (“like-minded or anti-whaling countries”, which includes Slovenia) and those that support whaling (“countries for the sustainable use of whales or pro-whaling countries”). The IWC mainly decides on the whaling quotas and strategies for their conservation. The aim of the Convention itself is the regulation of whaling, rather than prevention of it. Nevertheless, in 1982 the IWC placed a moratorium (ban) on commercial whaling, which brought some whale species to the brink of extinction. Some types of whaling are still allowed under certain circumstances, for example the aboriginal subsistence whaling that allows local tribes or communities to carry out traditional whaling for their own consumption. Two more types of whaling are being carried out, outside the scope of the IWC. The first is the “scientific whaling”, allowed by the Convention, but carried out under the exclusive jurisdiction of member countries. This type of whaling is carried out by Japan. The second type of whaling is the one under the objection to the moratorium, used by Iceland and Norway. But despite the name, whaling is no longer the only or main topic of work for the IWC. Increasingly, the work includes several aspects of whale and dolphin research and conservation, including prevention of bycatch in fishing gear, prevention of collisions between whales and ships, issues of pollution and other threats to whales and dolphins. The IWC has thus become one of the central international bodies for issues of whale and dolphin research and conservation on a global scale. Morigenos takes part in the work of IWC predominantly through active participation of its members in the IWC Scientific Committee.