This year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is shaping up as the most crucial in the history of the organisation, which was formed in 1946, and tasked with the role of protecting both whales and the whaling industry. In the years since 1946, the Commission has seen some species of great whales pushed to the brink of biological extinction, and others into “commercial” extinction, while the whaling industry, once so mighty, faded and almost died. In 1982, the IWC decided to impose an indefinite moratorium on commercial whaling, which has been helpful to the nascent recovery of some critically endangered species and populations. The full restoration of the role of whales in ocean ecosystems is still a long way off, and may never happen, but the signs of progress are encouraging. It comes as a shock, therefore, to realise that the whaling moratorium, which came as a beacon of hope for the environmental movement, and was so difficult to achieve, is now itself endangered. In Adagdir, Morocco, members of the IWC are now gathering, to consider allowing commercial whaling to resume, including in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. There is a significant probability that the Commission will agree. This blog will follow events as they unfold.
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