Delegates adopted several resolutions at the 65th session of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), including resolutions on aboriginal subsistence whaling, whaling under special permit and highly migratory cetacean species. IWC 65 also agreed on resolutions related to its Scientific Committee (SC), civil society participation and transparency at the IWC as well as its programme of work for its two year inter-sessional period.
On aboriginal subsistence whaling, the Commission discussed a report on whaling in Greenland and adopted a Schedule Amendment for four-year catch limits for Greenland. The Resolution on highly migratory species aims to enhance collaboration on the conservation of migratory cetaceans and requests the Secretariat to develop a work plan on research priorities and data sharing for review at IWC 66.
The Commission developed a list of large whale populations for conservation management plans (CMPs) and suggested marine debris as a candidate for a threat-based CMP. The Commission also discussed the status of whale stocks, including an eight-year assessment of seven breeding stocks of the South Hemisphere humpback whale, an in-depth assessment of the Indo-Pacific region and Antarctic minke whales, and a review of North Pacific gray whales. The Commission reviewed progress on the SC's ongoing work on environmental issues, including climate change, disease, pollution and sound.
The Commission expressed concern over, inter alia: a proposed windfarm development near habitat of Chile's endangered eastern South Pacific right whale population; “large annual mortality” of calves at Peninsula Valdes, Argentina; and entanglement and ship strike threats to the North Pacific and North Atlantic right whale and bowhead whales. It suggested addressing ship strikes by reducing vessel speed, noting such efforts require collaboration between the IWC and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The SC also expressed concern over whale watching tourism in Brazil and Panama and encouraged continued efforts to improve whalewatching in Oman.
Delegates did not adopt Schedule Amendments on a proposed South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and catching minke whales by small-type coastal whaling vessels. They failed to reach consensus on a resolution on food security. Delegates are expected to undertake further work on these items during the inter-sessional period. Ghana announced its intention to lead efforts to refine the proposal on food security.
Japan, the Russian Federation and the US signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the western North Pacific gray whale population.
IWC65 took place in Portoroz, Slovenia, from 15-18 September 2014.