Sperm whale flukes


An international convention to regulate whaling and conserve whale populations.

The IWC is responsible for the conservation and management of the world's cetaceans, from great whales to small dolphins.

New Zealand is a strong advocate within the IWC for the protection of whales and dolphins and the current moratorium on commercial whaling. New Zealand also contributes to efforts by the IWC to reduce worldwide deaths of cetaceans due to stranding, entanglement, ship strike and fisheries bycatch. 

The New Zealand Commissioner to the IWC (from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) leads New Zealand’s engagement within the IWC, supported by officials from DOC and the Ministry for Primary Industries. DOC leads New Zealand’s scientific representation in IWC.

About the IWC – MFAT website

Whale sanctuaries

The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is one of two established by the IWC.

It covers most of the Southern Ocean from 40 degrees south to the ice-edge, and includes all the major feeding areas for baleen whales in the Southern Hemisphere.

Japan maintains an objection to the sanctuary regarding Antarctic minke whales. The other sanctuary covers the entire Indian Ocean to 40 degrees south.

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