Home Mail Printable version


From its inception, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) recognized that research was essential to the proper conservation and management of the whale resources. To that end, the framers of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) devoted two of its 11 Articles to provisions that would supply a growing body of knowledge about whales, whaling, and the effects of whaling upon the resources. Article IV empowered the IWC to commission or undertake research studies independently or in collaboration with member governments or research organizations, and to collect and analyze data, and disseminate the information.

Article VIII provided the authority to IWC member nations to conduct scientific research on whales under their own programs.

Scientific research is such an integral part of the conservation and management of whales that the ICRW requires that all changes in the IWC's regulations "shall be based on scientific findings." (Article V, ICRW)

Following are the two ICRW Articles providing for research:


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

  1. encourage, recommend, or if necessary, organize studies and investigations relating to whales and whaling;
  2. collect and analyze statistical information concerning the current condition and trend of whale stocks and the effects of whaling activities thereon;
  3. study, appraise, and disseminate information concerning methods of maintaining and increasing the populations 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.


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 purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject 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, in so far 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 continuous 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.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional