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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 has resumed commercial whale hunting after a hiatus of more than 30 years, defying calls from conservation groups to protect animals once hunted to the brink of extinction.



Tokyo has for decades fiercely defended whale hunting despite heavy criticism from the international community. The government and local authorities celebrate the practice as a tradition with a long history and cultural significance akin to the hunting of whales in countries such as Norway and Iceland, where commercial hunting is permitted, or among indigenous communities in the United States and Canada.


About IWC:

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

Functions: ICRW governs the commercial, scientific, and aboriginal subsistence whaling practices of fifty-nine member nations.

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.



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

Sources: the hindu.