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Whale conservation

The Federal Government of Germany is resolutely opposed to commercial whaling. This also applies to scientific whaling.

The moratorium on whaling declared by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) must not be allowed to be undermined under the guise of scientific research.

The Commission was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling adopted in Washington in 1946. Germany acceded to this convention in 1982, becoming one of what are now 88 IWC member countries.

The IWC meets every two years and focuses on, inter alia, the conservation of certain whale species, whale sanctuaries, whaling quotas and whale research. The Commission is supported in its work by three Committees (the Scientific Committee, the Conservation Committee, the Financial & Administration Committee) and several Sub-committees.

The moratorium on commercial whaling has been in place since 1986 and has since had a very positive impact on the development of certain species of great whale. The moratorium prohibits any kind of whaling. The only exceptions apply to indigenous peoples.

Germany advocates maintaining the moratorium in the interest of whale conservation. However, IWC member countries that engage in whaling are lobbying for the moratorium to be lifted.

Common position of the EU members

The member states of the European Community represented in the IWC (including Germany) agreed at the end of December 2011 on a so-called "common position" for their negotiations at the three IWC meetings in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The aim is to support:

• the maintenance of the moratorium on commercial whaling,
• proposals aimed at eliminating the possibility of "whaling for scientific research purposes",
• proposals for the regulation of aboriginal subsistence whaling,
• proposals for the creation of whale sanctuaries according to IWC rules.

It is intended to reject any proposals for new types of whaling that are not yet included in the Convention.

As of:
09.11.16

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