International Whaling Commission votes to change subsistence quota renewal process

Subsistence hunt quotas for bowhead whales are set by the International Whaling Commission, which has just voted to change the way it renews those quotas. (Flickr photo by Anne-Line Brink).

At a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Brazil on Wednesday, Sept. 12, Alaska bowhead whale hunters celebrated a big victory.

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The organization — which manages international whaling, including for indigenous hunters — voted to change the way that subsistence hunt quotas are set.

Instead of quotas that expire and have to be renewed by the full IWC every six years, the quotas will now be renewed automatically, provided they have approval from the scientific committee that reviews the health of different whale populations.

It will also enable hunters to carry over more of their unused allowance from past years to another year.

Members of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission are attending the meeting in Brazil as part of the U.S. delegation. The meeting ends Friday, Sept. 14.

The IWC began setting quotas for the Alaska bowhead whale subsistence hunt back in 1977.

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