INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE REGULATION OF WHALING
The Governments whose duly authorized representatives have subscribed hereto,
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 overfishing 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 overfishing;
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 these natural resources;
Recognizing that it is in the common interest to achieve the optimum level of
whale stocks as rapidly as possible without causing wide-spread economic and
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:
This Convention includes the Schedule attached thereto which forms an
integral part thereof. All references to "Convention" shall be understood
as including the said Schedule either in its present terms or as amended
in accordance with the provisions of Article V.
This Convention applies to factory ships, land stations, and whale catchers
under the jurisdiction of the Contracting Governments and to all waters in
which whaling is prosecuted by such factory ships, land stations, and
As used in this Convention:
"Factory ship" means a ship in which or on which whales are treated whether
wholly or in part;
"Land station" means a factory on the land at which whales are treated
whether wholly or in part;
"Whale catcher" means a helicopter, or other aircraft, or a ship, used for
the purpose of hunting, taking, killing, towing, holding on to, or scouting
"Contracting Government" means any Government which has deposited an
instrument of ratification or has given notice of adherence to this
The Contracting Governments agree to establish an International Whaling
Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission, to be composed of one
member from each Contracting Government. Each member shall have one
vote and may be accompanied by one or more experts and advisers.
The Commission shall elect from its own members a Chairman and Vice Chairman
and shall determine its own Rules of Procedure. Decision of the Commission
shall be taken by a simple majority of those members voting except that a
three-fourths majority of those members voting shall be required for action
in pursuance of Article V. The Rules of Procedure may provide for
decisions otherwise than at meetings of the Commission.
The Commission may appoint its own Secretary and staff.
The Commission may set up, from among its own members and experts or
advisers, such committees as it considers desirable to perform such
functions as it may authorize.
The expenses of each member of the Commission and of his experts and advisers
shall be determined and paid by his own Government.
Recognizing that specialized agencies related to the United Nations will be
concerned with the conservation and development of whale fisheries and the
products arising therefrom and desiring to avoid duplication of functions,
the Contracting Governments will consult among themselves within two years
after the coming into force of this Convention to decide whether the
Commission shall be brought within the framework of a specialized agency
related to the United Nations.
In the meantime the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland shall arrange, in consultation with the other Contracting
Governments, to convene the first meeting of the Commission, and shall
initiate the consultation referred to in paragraph 6 above.
Subsequent meetings of the Commission shall be convened as the Commission
The Commission may either in collaboration with or through independent
agencies of the Contracting Governments of other public or private agencies
establishments, or organizations, or independently
- encourage, recommend, or if necessary, organize studies and
investigations relating to whales and whaling;
- collect and analyze statistical information concerning the
current conditions and trend of the whale stocks and the effects
of whaling activities thereon;
- study, appraise, and disseminate information concerning methods
of maintaining and increasing the populations of whale stocks.
The Commission shall arrange for the publication of reports of its
activities, and it may publish independently or in collaboration with
the International Bureau for Whaling Statistics at Sandefjord in Norway and
other organizations and agencies such reports as it deems appropriate,
as well as statistical, scientific, and other pertinent information relating
to whales and whaling.
The Commission may amend from time to time the provisions of the Schedule
by adopting regulations with respect to the conservation and utilization of
whale resources, fixing (a) protected and unprotected species; (b) open and
closed seasons; (c) open and closed waters, including the designation of
sanctuary areas; (d) size limits for each species; (e) time, methods, and
intensity of whaling (including the maximum catch of whales to be taken in
any one season); (f) types and specifications of gear and apparatus and
appliances which may be used; (g) methods of measurement; (h) catch returns
and other statistical and biological records; and (i) methods of inspection.
These amendments of the Schedule
(a) shall be such as are necessary to carry
out the objectives and purposes of this Convention and to provide for the
conservations, development, and optimum utilization of the whale resources;
(b) shall be based on scientific findings;
(c) shall not involve restrictions
on the number of nationality of factory ships or land stations, nor allocate
specific quotas to any factory ship or land station or to any group of
factory ships or land stations; and
(d) shall take into consideration the interests of the consumers of whale
products and the whaling industry.
Each of such amendments shall become effective with respect to the
Contracting Governments ninety days following notification of the amendment
by the Commission to each of the Contracting Governments except that (a)
if any Government presents to the Commission objection to any amendment
prior to the expiration of this ninety-day period, the amendment shall not
become effective with respect to any of the Governments for an additional
ninety days; (b) thereupon, any other Contracting Government may present
objection to the amendment at any time prior to the expiration of the
additional ninety-day period, or before the expiration of thirty days from
the date of receipt of the last objection received during such additional
ninety-day period, whichever date shall be the later; and (c) thereafter,
the amendment shall become effective with respect to all Contracting
Governments which have not presented objection but shall not become
with respect to any Government which has so objected until such date as
the objection is withdrawn. The Commission shall notify each Contracting
Government immediately upon receipt of each objection and withdrawal and
Contracting Government shall acknowledge receipt of all notifications of
amendments, objections, and withdrawals.
No amendments shall become effective before July 1, 1949.
The Commission may from time to time make recommendations to any or all
Contracting Governments on any matters which relate to whales or whaling and
to the objectives and purposes of this Convention.
The Contracting Governments shall ensure prompt transmission to the
International Bureau for Whaling Statistics at Sandefjord in Norway, or to
other body as the Commission may designated, of notifications and statistical
and other information required by this Convention in such form and manner as
may be prescribed by the Commission.
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention, any Contracting
Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing
that national to kill, take, and treat whales for purposes of scientific
research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other
conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit, and the killing,
taking, and treating of whales in accordance with the provisions of this
Article shall be exempt from the operation of this Convention.
Each Contracting Government shall report at once to the Commission all such
authorizations which it has granted. Each Contracting Government may at
any time revoke any such special permit which it has granted.
Any whales taken under these special permits shall so far as practicable be
processed and the proceeds shall be dealt with in accordance with
directions issued by the Government by which the permit was granted.
Each Contracting Government shall transmit to such body as may be designated
by the Commission, in so far as practicable, and at intervals of not more
than one year, scientific information available to that Government with
respect to whales and whaling, including the results of research conducted
pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article and to Article IV.
Recognizing that continuous collection and analysis of biological data in
connection with the operations of factory ships and land stations are
indispensable to sound and constructive management of the whale fisheries,
the Contracting Governments will take all practicable measures to obtain
Each Contracting Government shall take appropriate measures to ensure the
application of the provisions of this Convention and the punishment of
infractions against the said provisions in operations carried out by persons
or by vessels under its jurisdiction.
No bonus or other remuneration calculated with relation to the results of
their work shall be paid to the gunners and crews of whale catchers in
respect of any whales the taking of which is forbidden by this Convention.
Prosecution for infraction against or contraventions of this Convention shall
be instituted by the Government having jurisdiction over the offence.
Each Contracting Government shall transmit to the Commission full details of
each infraction of the provisions of this Convention by persons or vessels
under the jurisdiction of that Government as reported by its inspectors.
This information shall include a statement of measures taken for dealing
with the infraction and of penalties imposed.
This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification shall
be deposited with the Government of the United States of America.
Any Government which has not signed this Convention may adhere thereto after
it enters into force by a notification in writing to the Government of the
United States of America.
The Government of the United States of America shall inform all other
signatory Governments and all adhering Governments of all ratifications
deposited and adherences received.
This Convention shall, when instruments of ratification have been deposited
by at least six signatory Governments, which shall include the Governments
of the Netherlands, Norway, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States
of America, enter into force with respect to those Governments and shall
enter into force with respect to each Government which subsequently ratifies
or adheres on the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification or
the receipt of its notification of adherence.
The provisions of the Schedule shall not apply prior to July 1, 1948.
Amendments to the Schedule adopted pursuant to Article V shall not apply
prior to July 1, 1949.
Any Contracting Government may withdraw from this Convention on June thirtieth
of any year by giving notice on or before January first of the same year to
the depository Government, which upon receipt of such a notice shall at once
communicate it to the other Contracting Governments. Any other Contracting
Government may, in like manner, within one month of the receipt of a copy of
such a notice from the depository Government, give notice of withdrawal, so
that the Convention shall cease to be in force on June thirtieth of the same
year with respect to the Government giving such notice of withdrawal.
This Convention shall bear the date on which it is opened for signature and
shall remain open for signature for a period of fourteen days thereafter.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized, have signed this
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.