International Whaling Commission

The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was signed in 1946 and it is the International Whaling Commission’s founding document. The preamble of the Convention declares its aims are both conservation of whale stocks and orderly development of whaling industry.

International Convention the Regulation of Whaling

The Governments whose duly authorized representatives have subscribed here to recognizing the interest of the nations of the world in safeguarding for future generations the great natural resources represented by the whale stocks.

Considering that the history of whaling has seen over-fishing of one area after another and of one species of whale after another to such a degree that it is essential to protect all species of whales from further over-fishing.

Recognizing that the whale stocks are susceptible of natural increases if whaling is properly regulated, and that increases in the size of whale stocks will permit increases in the numbers of whales which may be captured without endangering this natural resources.

Recognizing that it is in the common interest to achieve the optimum level of whale stocks as rapidly as possible without causing widespread economic and nutritional distress.

Recognizing that in the course of achieving these objectives, whaling operations should be confined to those species best able to sustain exploitation in order to give an interval for recovery to certain species of whales now depleted in numbers.

Desiring to establish a system of international regulation for the whale fisheries to ensure proper and effective conservation and development of whale stocks on the basis of the principles embodied in the provisions of the International Agreement for the Regulation of Whaling signed in London on June 8, 1937, and the protocols to that Agreement signed in London on June 24,1938, and November 26, 1945; and

Having decided to conclude a convention to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry; Have agreed as follows:

In Wittness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized, have signed this Convention.

Done in Washington this second day of December, 1946, in the English language, the original of which shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America shall transmit certified copies thereof to all the other signatory and adhering Governments.

Note: Portions of red letters are colored by JWA for the purpose of emphasis.

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