The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is an international environmental agreement signed in 1946 in order to "provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry". It governs the commercial, scientific, and aboriginal subsistence whaling practices of fifty-nine member nations.
It was signed by 15 nations in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 1946 and took effect on November 10, 1948. Its protocol (which represented the first substantial revision of the convention and extended the definition of a "whale-catcher" to include helicopters as well as ships) was signed in Washington on November 19, 1956. The convention is a successor to the International Agreement for the Regulation of Whaling, signed in London on June 8, 1937, and the protocols for that agreement signed in London on June 24, 1938, and November 26, 1945.
The objectives of the agreement are the protection of all whale species from overhunting, the establishment of a system of international regulation for the whale fisheries to ensure proper conservation and development of whale stocks, and safeguarding for future generations the great natural resources represented by whale stocks. The primary instrument for the realization of these aims is the International Whaling Commission which was established pursuant to this convention. The commission has made many revisions to the schedule that makes up the bulk of the convention. The Commission process has also also reserved for governments the right to carry out scientific research which involves killing of whales.
Nations currently party to the convention are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, China (seat originally belonged to the Republic of China but was replaced by People's Republic of China upon the PRC's entrance into the United Nations), Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Guinea, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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