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International Whaling Commission


Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Species extinction & protection   >   Organisations

Why in News?

  • Antarctic blue whales are returning in numbers to the waters in south Atlantic thanks to the efforts and ban placed on hunting by International whaling commission since 1967.
  • The blue whale is a marine mammal which is the largest animal known to have ever existed.
  • Blue whales are considered as an endangered species by IUCN Red data list.

About IWC:

  • The International Whaling Commission is an Inter-governmental Organisation whose purpose is the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.
  • The IWC has a current membership of 89 Governments from countries all over the world.
  • India is a member of IWC since 1981.
  • The organization is headquartered at Cambridge, UK.

Regulatory functions of IWC

  • The legal framework of the IWC is the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, established in 1946, making it one of the first pieces of international environmental legislation.
  • The legally binding Schedule of the Convention sets out specific measures that are necessary in order to regulate whaling and conserve whale stocks.
  • These measures include catch limits, designating specified areas as whale sanctuaries, protection of calves and females, restrictions on hunting methods etc.

Whale sanctuaries:

  • Current whale sanctuaries are
    • Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary: Covers the waters of southern  ocean surrounding the continent of Antarctica
    • Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary:  was established in 1979 and covers the whole of the Indian Ocean south to 55°S.
  • A proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic has repeatedly failed in  meetings of the IWC.


Which of the following Marine protected areas, recently in news, is one of the largest in the world and located in the Southern Ocean:
(a)Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area
(b)Phoenix Islands Protected Area
(c)Chagos Marine Protected Area 
(d)Ross sea Marine Protected area

Answer to prelims question

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