International Whaling Commission Decisions

Title Document Number Meeting Status Summary Treary Type
Resolution 2016-6 2016-6 66th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC66) Adopted RECALLING the terms of Article III.5 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, whereby "the expenses of each member of the Commission and of his experts and advisers shall be determined and paid by his own Government";
RECOGNISING that a large number of developing countries are members of the IWC and that some have financial difficulties that limit their full participation in the work of the IWC;
DESIRING, within the terms of the Convention, to ensure the fullest possible participation of all Contracting Governments in the work of the Commission;
RECOGNISING that financial assistance to strengthen the scientific and technical capacity of member governments to participate fully in the work of other intergovernmental organizations is provided by other intergovernmental organizations; and
RECALLING the voluntary financial support provided to Contracting Governments in Capacity to Pay Groups 1 and 2 during the special meetings of the Small Working Group tasked with advancing the ‘Future of the IWC’ process;
ICRW Resolution
Resolution 2016-5 2016-5 66th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC66) Adopted AWARE that there exist differences in views between member states on the regulatory competence of the IWC with regard to small cetaceans, and noting that this Resolution does not seek in any way to prejudice different members' positions;

NOTING that the biology ofvaquita and concerns about incidental mortality in the shark and totoaba fishery were first mentioned in the published report of the IWC Scientific Committee's first meeting on small cetaceans,
Montreal, 1974 (IWC, 1975).
ICRW Resolution
Resolution 2016-4 2016-4 66th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC66) Adopted ACKNOWLEDGING that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have identified the adverse effects of pollution from mercury as a serious problem worldwide for human health and the environment.

WELCOMING the adoption in 2013 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the objective of which is to protect human health and the environment from the anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

AWARE that cetaceans which have a worldwide distribution in marine and freshwater ecosystems, can act as sentinels of ecosystem change and are vulnerable to environmental contaminants such as methylmercury.

AWARE of the "AMAP Assessment of Mercury in the Arctic" (2011) and of the "AMAP Assessment of Human Health in the Arctic" (2015) carried out by expert working groups of the Arctic Council, which drew attention to the adverse effects of persistent contaminants, in particular mercury pollution, on Arctic human populations;
ICRW Resolution
Resolution 2016-3 2016-3 66th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC66) Adopted ACKNOWLEDGING that cetaceans make significant contributions to ecosystem functioning that are beneficial for the natural environment and people;
RECOGNISING the need to integrate the values of biodiversity and the contributions made by cetaceans to ecosystem functioning into decision-making processes related to the conservation and management of cetacean populations;
FURTHER RECOGNISING the ever increasing understanding of the value of cetaceans from a social, economic and ecological perspective;
ALSO FURTHER RECOGNISING that the Commission has identified the importance of research on the effects of environmental changes on cetaceans due to increasing threats faced by cetaceans, including climate change, pollution, ship strikes, and entanglement among others;
AWARE that increasing scientific evidence suggests that whales enhance ecosystem productivity by concentrating nitrogen and iron near the surface through the release of faecal plumes, in some cases equivalent to that required to support localised prey consumption, such as has been reported for blue whales, sperm whales and humpback whales among others;
ICRW Resolution
Resolution 2016-2 2016-2 66th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC66) Adopted Noting the judgment of March 31, 2014 of the International Court of Justice in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening);
Noting the Court's view that Contracting Governments to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling ("the Convention") have a duty to cooperate with the International Whaling Commission and Scientific Committee;
Affirming that the Scientific Committee is required to review and comment on proposed special permits as stipulated under paragraph 30 of the Schedule to the Convention, and that it is appropriate for the Commission to receive and consider the reports and recommendations of the Scientific Committee and make such recommendations under Article VI of the Convention as it sees fit;
Underscoring the importance of the Commission considering these reports and recommendations of the Scientific Committee and, to that end, being able to make recommendations in sufficient time to allow the Contracting Government concerned to give such recommendations due regard, in exercise of its duty to cooperate, prior to issuing a special permit;
ICRW Resolution
RESOLUTION 2018-5 2018-5 67th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC67) Adopted Whereas the International Whaling Commission has been widely recognised as the main international body directly charged with the conservation of cetaceans and the management of whaling;
Recognising that the evolution of whale research methods, management alternatives and the sustainable use of whale resources, as well as that of international law since the adoption of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) in 1946 has led the role of the Commission to evolve through the adoption of more than a hundred conservation-oriented resolutions, as well as through various Schedule amendments to include, inter alia, the management of non-lethal appropriation of whale resources, as well as the maintenance of healthy cetacean populations to fulfill the vital ecological and carbon cycling roles these animals play in the global marine ecosystem functioning;
Acknowledging that there are diverging views among Member States of the Commission regarding how the IWC´s mandate should be adequately implemented, in a manner that would satisfy the broadest interest of all humankind in the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats, while recognizing the importance of accommodating the needs of indigenous people who are dependent upon whales for subsistence and cultural purposes;
Recalling Resolution 2007-3 on the non-lethal use of cetaceans and further acknowledging that cetaceans make significant contributions to ecosystem functioning and are beneficial for the natural environment and people, and that the sustainable, non-lethal and non-extractive use of whales is a rapidly growing activity deserving of recognition that provides significant socio-economic benefits for coastal communities around the world, particularly in developing countries;
Reaffirming that the moratorium on commercial whaling, which has been in effect since 1986, has contributed to the recovery of some cetacean populations, and AWARE of the cumulative effects of multiple, existing and emerging threats to cetacean populations such as entanglement, bycatch, underwater noise, ship strikes, marine debris and climate change;
ICRW Resolution
RESOLUTION 2018-4 2018-4 67th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC67) Adopted Recognising the increased understanding of environmental stressors to cetaceans since the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was concluded in 1946;
Noting that cetaceans fundamentally depend on sound for their survival and that exposure to certain anthropogenic underwater noise can have both physiological and behavioural consequences for cetaceans;
Further noting that noise can travel over long ranges in the marine environment across and beyond areas of national jurisdiction;
Recognising the rapid growth during recent decades of anthropogenic underwater noise generated by human activities, as evidenced from locations where such data are available, such as shipping, seismic exploration, drilling, construction etc.;
Noting the advice of the Scientific Committee, presented in its 2016 report that there is evidence indicating that chronic anthropogenic underwater noise is affecting the marine acoustic environment in many regions, and that there is emerging evidence that compromised acoustic habitat may adversely affect some cetacean populations;
ICRW Resolution
RESOLUTION 2018-3 2018-3 67th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC67) Adopted Acknowledging that the abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is recognised as a major anthropogenic global problem that causes economic losses, environmental damage and harm to marine wildlife, including cetaceans;
Further acknowledging that bycatch in active fishing gear is the greatest immediate threat for cetaceans globally, and that the IWC is committed to addressing this issue through its Bycatch Mitigation Initiative;
Recognising that despite being extremely difficult to quantify, the amount of existing ALDFG is prevalent and likely to be increasing;
Further recognising that the mortality rates associated with ghost fishing gear are very difficult to quantify, especially transient ALDFG that follow the winds and geostrophic currents, making them difficult to track and find, and prolonged studies very challenging;
ICRW Resolution
RESOLUTION 2018-2 2018-2 67th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC67) Adopted Recalling the IWC’s acknowledgement in Resolution 2016-3 of the biological contributions made by cetaceans to ecosystem functioning and their associated economic and social values;
Recalling also the IWC’s recognition of the need to integrate the contribution made by live cetaceans and carcasses present in the ocean to marine ecosystem functioning into the decision-making processes of the IWC and other fora;
ICRW Resolution
RESOLUTION 2018-1 2018-1 67th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC67) Adopted Recalling Resolution 2016-1, which the International Whaling Commission adopted by consensus to establish a comprehensive, independent review of its institutional and governance arrangements; ICRW Resolution
Resolution 2016-1 2016-1 66th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC66) Adopted The Commission endorsed Resolution
on Enhancing the Effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission
calls upon Contracting Governments to make voluntary contributions to support this review;
agrees to establish, during the 66th meeting of the Commission, a Steering Group of Contracting Governments representing a range of views and interests to select a panel to conduct the review in the intersessional period;
requests that the Working Group on Operational Effectiveness consider the report and submit a proposal to guide the Commission in responding to the recommendations of the review at least 60 days in advance of the 67th meeting of the Commission.
ICRW Resolution
Resolution 2014-1 2014-1 65th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC65) Adopted
WHEREAS Resolution 1982-3 states that it is the purpose of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to provide for the effective conservation and management of whale stocks;
WHEREAS the Commission recognises the importance of accommodating the needs of aboriginal people who are dependent upon whales for subsistence and cultural purposes and that the Commission intends that the needs of aboriginals shall be determined by the Governments concerned and explained in needs statements that are submitted to the Commission.
ICRW Resolution