Hotly fought over just a few short years ago, the IWC Conservation Committee has blossomed with a huge agenda and an eager cadre of countries conducting research and promoting conservation programs to protect whales and other marine life around the world.
The Conservation Committee’s agenda includes ship strikes, marine debris, whale watching, endangered whales, and the development of whale conservation plans by many individual countries.
A Voluntary Fund for Small Cetacean Conservation Research has been established consisting of contributions from several country governments and NGOs. A wide variety of research projects on small cetaceans, often recommended by the IWC Scientific Committee, are now funded by these voluntary contributions, focused on genetic and abundance research on little known dolphins and porpoises, as well as bycatch issues that threaten Mexico’s vaquita and conservation steps to protect China’s Yangtze finless porpoise.
The Conservation Committee, in just a few short years, has developed into a major contributor to research and conservation protocols all over the world for cetaceans.
It is to be hoped that those countries that originally opposed the establishment of the Conservation Committee will start to participate in and share resources with the ongoing global effort.