Dolphins - The Oracles of the Sea
Evolution and Taxonomy Behaviour
Anatomy Human and Dolphin
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  • Conservation of Dolphins

    1. International Whaling Commission
    2. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
    3. Berne Convention
    4. Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species

    In the past four decades, as public awareness about cetaceans and the threats against them has increased, organizations dedicated to the preservation of these creatures have developed. In numerous parts of the world, international conventions have outlined the threats facing cetaceans and created regulations to ensure their preservation. Countries have passed legislation that includes provisions for regulating directed and incidental takes, as well as habitat destruction, pollution, and disturbance. This page outlines a few of the organizations and conventions dedicated to the preservation of cetaceans and other wildlife. The list is by no means comprehensive, as there are numerous other examples of people's efforts to counteract the man-made problems facing cetaceans.

    Back to Outline International Whaling Commission

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was created under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in 1946 in an effort to regulate whaling. For the first two decades of its existance, it came under sharp criticism due to its lack of effectiveness. The exploitation of whales continued almost unabated as both the regulations and their enforcement were weak. Some called it a "whaler's club," intersted more in stabalizing the world market than the population of cetaceans.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, however, the IWC started instituting far scricter limits on whaling. In 1974 it adopted a new method of categorizing existing stocks and applying regulations, called the New Mangement Procedure (NMP). In 1986, all commercial whaling was suspended, and by 1989, all countries involved observed the restrictions except those involved in scientific research.

    Although the IWC was created initially to protect stocks of the rorqual, right, and sperm whales, small cetaceans were not specifically excluded from the Commission's jurisdiction. However, within the organization, there is little agreement as to whether the IWC should take action to protect them. Starting in 1972, all parties were required to give information on the direct and indirect takes on all species of cetacean, but few responded. It does review the status of different stocks of dolphins and porpoises and compiles these statistics periodically.

    Back to Outline Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) occured on 3 March 1973 and its provisions took effect on 1 July 1975. It regulates international trade of different plant and animal species, defining international trade as all international movements, whatever the purpose. Species are listed in three appendices. Appendix I lists those species threatened with extinction and affected by international trade. 23 species of cetacean are included in this appendix. The provisions require a special permit from both importing and exporting countries, and no commerical trade is allowed. Appendix II lists species that may become threatened with extinction unless trade is regulated. In 1979, all cetaceans not listed in Appendix I were placed in Appendix II.

    Back to Outline Berne Convention

    The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, also known as the Berne Convention, took place on 19 September 1979. Its task was to conserve wild plants and animals, as well as natural habitats, especially when international cooperation is needed. It includes four appendices. Appendix I includes strictly protected plants, Appendix II stores strictly protected animals, including 19 species of cetacean, Appendix II has protected animals, with all of the remaining species of cetacean, and Appendix IV stores methods of killing, capturing, or otherwise exploiting that are banned by the provisions of the convention.

    Back to Outline Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species

    The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of the Wild (CMS), otherwise known as the Bonn Convention, protects the populations of cetaceans located in the North and Baltic Seas. It took place on 23 June 1979 and its provisions came into force on 1 November 1983. The two appendices include (I) presently endangered species which need immediate protection and (II) species for which the current protection is insufficient and which would benefit from international cooperation and agreements.

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    Klinowska, Margaret. Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book. Gland, Switzerland: World Conservation Union, 1991.

    Evolution and Taxonomy Behaviour Anatomy Human and Dolphin
    © 1998 Thinkquest Team 17963 <17963@advanced.orgREMOTE>: Bradford Hovinen, Onno Faber, Vincent Goh
    Modified: 29 August 1998, Created: 20 August 1998
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