The 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) kicked-off in Portorož today, hosted by the Republic of Slovenia. Tilen Genov from Morigenos, a member of the IWC Scientific Committee, is also attending as a member of the delegation of the Republic of Slovenia, mainly covering the topics discussed at the Conservation Committee.
Slovenia ratified the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in 2006. The International Whaling Commission was set up to implement the provisions of the Convention. It currently involves 89 member countries, which are divided to those that oppose different types of whaling (“like-minded or anti-whaling countries”) 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, to allow populations to recover. Some types of whaling are still allowed for 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. In the last few years, other topics of whale and dolphin conservation are becoming increasingly important, such as 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. We are glad that our scientists are taking part in these global discussions and solutions for the conservation of marine biodiversity.