International Whaling Committee

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The International Whaling Committee(ICW) is an IGO that was created in 1946 by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. The IWC was created to ensure conservation of whale stocks and development of the whaling industry. The IWC presently has 40 members, with membership open to any state willing to sign on to the ICRW. The IWC meets annually; it has a small Secretariat and is lead by the Secretary-General. It is further divided into three committees: the Scientific, Technical, and Finance and Administration. Each state has one, equal vote. Decisions are made with a simple majority except for cases such as protected and unprotected species, open and closed waters and seasons, size limits for species, factors of whaling(time, methods, intensity), and types/specifications of gear to be used. Overall, the IWC is responsible for protecting endangered species, designating whale sanctuaries, setting whale kill quotas, specifying hunting seasons, maintaining whale stocks, conducting scientific research and regulating the capture of female whales with suckling calves. The IWC is an example of an organization created to avoid the tragedy of the commons. Despite efforts to conserve the whale stock, whale populations continue to decline. In 1982, the IWC issued a 15 year moratorium on all commercial whaling. States such as the former Soviet Union, Japan, Iceland and Norway opposed this, which went into effect in 1986. Because Norway formally objected the moratorium, and Japan was given an exemption to kill whales for science, these two states are not bound by the moratorium. This is because the ICRW allows objections from member states, IWC rules are not binding to those who object them. The IWC discussed two major issues at the 2001 meeting, the revised management scheme and additional whale sanctuaries. The new management scheme would lift the whaling ban and allow Japan and Norway whale-kill quotas. Whale sanctuaries are designated areas in which most...
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