The IWC Scientific Committee published the report of its annual meeting on 21st June 2021.
The Committee brings together leading cetacean scientists from all over the world. It has met every year since 1955 to review relevant research and information, and provide scientific advice to the Commission. In 2020, Covid-19 forced the Committee to make a last-minute switch to a virtual format which was refined and repeated for this year’s meeting.
Like many other organisations, the Scientific Committee recognised that, as well as some difficult challenges, a virtual meeting is an opportunity to increase accessibility, receive more diverse scientific perspectives, and raise awareness of their work to a wider audience. In-person meetings are usually attended by 150-200 people. The 2020 virtual meeting attracted a record 350 participants, which was far exceeded in 2021 as the IWC welcomed registrations from nearly 600 specialists in cetacean research and conservation.
Key topics were discussed during the meeting from Climate Change, accidental bycatch, and new conservation management plans to whale stocks subject to Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling and the populations of large cetaceans around the world.