Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission

16 May, 2023
photo of Bled, Slovenia. In the background a snow-capped mountain and in the foreground evergreen trees dotted with hotels and other buildings.

Despite its name, the International Whaling Commission is the international body for the conservation of cetaceans, with 88 member states. Dave Miller attended the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Bled, Slovenia (pictured) as an Invited Participant by the sub-committee on "Abundance estimation, stock status and international cruises". The group consists of about 20 scientists from around the world who meet to undertake in-depth reviews of the statistics and field methods used to estimate abundance for various whales and dolphins, the results of which which then go on to inform various processes within the IWC. This includes guidance for regulations of indigenous hunts, as well as conservation actions.


Dave's role within the group is as one of the reviewers of abundance estimates provided to the IWC that are to be used for cetacean management and status assessment around the world. This year's meeting focused on such species as southern hemisphere right and humpback whales, Antarctic blue whales and western north Atlantic minke whales. Particular attention was given to an ongoing review of the status of franciscana Pontoporia blainvillei, a small coastal dolphin classified as vulnerable by IUCN due to human pollution and bycatch from the fishing industry. The hope is that with good interventions informed by these assessments, we can save this species from extinction.