The Whale-Watching Web: IWC


International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

The Governments whose duly authorized representatives have subscribed hereto

Recognizing the interest of the nations of the world in safeguarding for future generations the great natural resources represented by the whale stocks.

Considering that the history of whaling has seen overfishing of one area after another and of one species of whale after another to such a degree that it is essential to protect all species of whales from further overfishing.

Recognizing that the whale stocks are susceptible of natural increases if whaling is properly regulated, and that increases in the size of whale stocks will permit increases in the numbers of whales which may be captured without endangering this natural resources.

Recognizing that it is in the common interest to achieve the optimum level of whale stocks as rapidly as possible without causing wide-spread economic and nutritional distress.

Recognizing that in the course of achieving these objectives, whaling operations should be confined to those species best able to sustain exploitation in order to give an interval for recovery to certain species of whales now depleted in numbers.

Desiring to establish a system of international regulation for the whale fisheries to ensure proper and effective conservation and development of whale stocks on the basis of the principles embodied in the provisions of the International

Agreement for the Regulation of Whaling signed in London on June 8, 1937, and the protocols to that Agreement signed in London on June 24,1938, and November 26, 1945 and Having decided to conclude a convention to provide for he proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry,

Have agreed as follows:

Article I.

  1. This Convention includes the Schedule attached thereto which forms an integral part thereof. All references to “Conventions”shall be understood as including the said schedule either in its present terms or as amended in accordance with the provisions of Article V.
  2. This Convention applies to factory ships, land stations, and whale catchers under the jurisdiction of the Contracting Governments, and to all waters in which whaling is prosecuted by such factory ships, land stations, and whale catchers.

Article II.

As used in this Convention.
  1. “factory ship” means a ship in which or on which whales are treated whether wholly or in part,
  2. “land station” means a factory on the land at which whales are treated whether wholly or in part,
  3. “whale catcher” means a ship used for the purpose of hunting, taking, towing, holding on to, or scouting for whales,
  4. “Contracting Government” means any Government which has deposited an instrument of ratification or has given notice of adherence to this Convention.

Article III.

  1. The Contracting Governments agree to establish an International Whaling Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission, to be composed of one member from each Contracting Government. Each member shall have one vote and may be accompanied by one or more experts and advisers.
  2. The Commission shall elect from its own members a Chairman and Vice Chairman and shall determine its own Rules of Procedure. Decisions of the Commission shall be taken by a simple majority of those members voting except that a three-fourths majority of those members voting shall be required for action in pursuance of Article V. The Rules of Procedure may provide for decisions otherwise than at meetings of the Commission.
  3. The Commission may appoint its own Secretary and staff.
  4. The Commission may set up, from among its own members and experts or advisers, such committees as it considers desirable to perform such functions as it may authorize.
  5. The expenses of each member of the Commission and of his experts and advisers shall be determined and paid by his own Government.
  6. Recognizing that specialized agencies related to the United Nations will be concerned with the conservation and development of whale fisheries and the products arising therefrom and desiring to avoid duplication of functions, the Contracting Governments will consult among themselves within two years after the coming into force of this Convention to decide whether the Commission shall be brought within the framework of a specialized agency related to the United Nations.
  7. In the meantime the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland shall arrange, in consultation with the other Contracting Governments, to convene the first meeting of the Commission, and shall initiate the consultation referred to in paragraph 6 above.
  8. Subsequent meetings of the Commission shall be convened as the Commission may determine.

Article IV.

  1. The Commission may either in collaboration with or through independent agencies of the Contracting Governments or other public or private agencies, establishments, or organizations, or independently
    • (a) encourage, recommend, or if necessary, organize studies and investigations relating to whales and whaling,
    • (b) collect and analyze statistical information concerning the current condition and trend of the whale stocks and the effects of whaling activities thereon,
    • (c) study, appraise, and disseminate information concerning methods of maintaining and increasing the population of whale stocks.
  2. The Commission shall arrange for the publication of reports of its activities, and it may publish independently or in collaboration with the International Bureau for Whaling Statistics at Sandefjord in Norway and other organizations and agencies such reports as it deems appropriate, as well as statistical, scientific, and other pertinent information relating to whales and whaling.

Article V.

  1. The Commission may amend from time to time the provisions of the Schedule by adopting regulations with respect to the conservation and utilization of whales resources fixing
    • (a) protected and unprotected species,
    • (b) open and closed seasons,
    • (c) open and closed waters, including the designation of sanctuary areas,
    • (d) size limits for each species,
    • (c) time, methods and intensity of whaling (including the minimum catch of whales to be taken in any one season)
    • (f) types and specifications of gear and apparatus and appliances which may be used,
    • (g) methods of measurement, and
    • (h) catch returns and other, statistical and biological records.
  2. These amendments of the Schedule
    • (a) shall be such as are necessary to carry out the objectives and purposes of this Convention and to provide for the conservation, developments and optimum utilization of the whale resources,
    • (b) shall be based on scientific findings,
    • (c) shall not involve restrictions on the number or nationality of factory ships or land stations, nor allocate specific quotas to any factory ship or land station or to any group or factory ships or land stations, and
    • (d) shall take into consideration the interests of the consumers of whale products and the whaling industry.
  3. Each of such amendments shall become effective with respect to the Contracting Governments ninety days following notification of the amendment by the Commission to each. of the Contracting Governments, except that
    • (a) if any Government presents to the Commission objection to any, amendment prior to the expiration of this ninety-day period, the amendment shall not become effective with respect to any of the Governments for an additional ninety days;
    • (b) thereupon, any other Contracting Government may present objection to the amendment at any time prior to the expiration of the additional ninety-day period, or before the expiration of thirty days from the date of receipt of the last objection received during such additional ninety-day period, which ever date shall be later, and
    • (c) thereafter, the amendment shall become effective with respect to all Contracting Governments which have not presented objection but shall not become effective with respect to any Government which has so objected until such date as the objection is withdrawn. The Commission shall notify each Contracting Government immediately upon receipt of each objection and withdrawal and each Contracting Government shall acknowledge receipt of all notifications of amendments, objections, and withdrawals.
  4. No amendments shall become effective before July 1, 1949.

    Article VI.

    The Commission may from time to time make recommendations to any or all Contracting Governments on any matters which relate to whales or whaling and to the objectives and purposes of this Convention.

    Article VII.

    The Contracting Governments shall ensure prompt transmission to the International Bureau for Whaling Statistics at Sandefjord in Norway, or to such other body as the Commission may designate, of notifications and statistical and other information required by this Convention in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the Commission.

    Article VIII.

    1. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention, any Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purpose of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subjects to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit, and the killing, taking, and treating of whales in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be exempt from the operation of this Convention. Each Contracting Government shall report at once to the Commission all such authorizations which it has granted. Each Contracting Government may at any time revoke any such special permit which it has granted.
    2. Any whales taken under these special permits shall so far as practicable be processed and the proceeds shall be dealt with in accordance with directions issued by the Government by which the permit was granted.
    3. Each Contracting Government shall transmit to such body as may be designated by the Commission, insofar as practicable, and at intervals of not more than one year, scientific information available to that Government with respect to whales and whaling, including the results of research conducted pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article and to Article IV.
    4. Recognizing that continuos collection and analysis of biological data in connection with the operations of factory ships and land stations are indispensable to sound and constructive management of the whale fisheries, the Contracting Governments will take all practicable measures to obtain such data.

    Article IX.

    1. Each Contracting Government shall take appropriate measures to ensure the application of the provisions of this Convention and the punishment of infractions against the said provisions in operations carried out by persons or by vessels under its jurisdiction.
    2. No bonus or other remuneration calculated with relation to the results of their work shall be paid to the gunners and crews of whale catchers in respect of any whales the taking of which is forbidden by this Convention.
    3. Prosecution for infractions against or contraventions of this Convention shall be instituted by the Government having jurisdiction over the offense.
    4. Each Contracting Government shall transmit to the Commission full details of each infraction of the provisions of this Convention by persons or vessels under the jurisdiction of that Government as reported by its inspectors. This information shall include a statement of measures taken for dealing with the infraction and of penalties imposed.

    Article X.

    1. This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Government of the United States of America.
    2. Any Government which has not signed this Convention may adhere thereto after it enters into force by a notification in writing to the Government of the United States of America.
    3. The Government of the United States of America shall inform all other signatory Governments and all adhering Governments of all ratifications deposited and adherences received.
    4. This Convention shall, when instruments of ratification have been deposited by at least six signatory Governments, which shall include the Governments of the Netherlands, Norway, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America, enter into force with respect to those Governments and shall enter into force with respect to each Government which subsequently ratifies or adheres on the date of deposit of its instruments of ratification or the receipt of its notification of adherence.
    5. The provisions of the Schedule shall not apply prior to July 1, 1948. Amendments to the Schedule adopted pursuant to Article V shall not apply prior to July 1, 1949.

    Article XI.

    Any Contracting Government may withdraw from this Convention on June thirty of any year by giving notice on or before January first of the same year to the depositary Government, which upon receipt of such a notice shall at once communicate it to the other Contracting Governments. Any other Contracting Government may, in like manner, within one month of the receipt of a copy of such a notice from the depositary Government, give notice of the withdrawal, so that the Convention shall cease to be in force on June thirtieth of the same year with respect to the Government giving such notice of withdrawal. This Convention shall bear the date on which it is opened for signature and shall remain open for signature for a period of fourteen days thereafter.

    In Wittness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized, have signed this Convention.

    Done in Washington this second day of December, 1946, in the English language, the original of which shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America shall transmit certified copies thereof to all the other signatory and adhering Governments.

    Oscar Ivanissevich. Guillermo Brown.
    Jose Manuel Moneta. Pedro H. Bruno Videla.
    Francis F. Anderson.
    Paulo Froes da Cruz.
     H. H. Wrong. H. A. Scott.
     Auguqtin R. Edwards.
     Peter Friedrich Erichsen.
     Francis Lacoste.
     D. J. van Dijk.
     Guy Richardson Powles.
     Birgei Bergersen.
     Carlos Rotalde.
     Alexander S. Bogdanov. Eugine I. Nikishin.
    A. T. A. Dobson. J. Thomson.
    Remington Kellogg. William E. S. Flory.
    Ira N. Gabrielson.
    H. T. Andrews.
  5. Schedule
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    Rauno Lauhakangas