Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Japan announces withdrawal from International Whaling Commission


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  International Whaling Commission

Mains level: Killing of various animal species in name of culture and international efforts against it


  • Japan announced its withdrawal from the international Whaling Commission (IWC) conservation body on December 26, 2018.


  1. Some countries under the umbrella of scientific research are continuously killing the whales and selling meat and producing whale oil, which has brought various whales under the category of endangered species and are vanishing day by day.
  2. Japan, Iceland and Norway are some of the countries recorded with largest number of commercial whaling.
  3. Japan was an IWC member since 1951.

Reasons for Japan’s Withdrawal

  1. Japan has been practicing commercial whale hunting for past 30 years under a scientific programme, granted as an exception under the IWC ban.
  2. Small-scale whaling is traditional in some parts of Japan, but whale meat was only ever popular in the postwar period.
  3. Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes.
  4. Engagement in whaling has been supporting local communities, and thereby developed the life and culture of using whales.


International Whaling Commission (IWC)

  1. The IWC is an Inter-Governmental Organisation set up by the terms of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) signed in Washington, D.C in 1946.
  2. It aims to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.
  3. The main duty of the IWC is to keep under review and revise as necessary the measures laid down in the Schedule to the Convention which govern the conduct of whaling throughout the world.
  4. The body is the first piece of International Environmental Legislation established in 1946.
  5. Commercial whaling was banned by the IWC in 1986 after some species were almost driven to extinction.
  6. 89 countries have the membership of in IWC and all the member countries are signatories to this convention.
  7. India is a member state of the IWC.
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