The 64th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission and the associated meetings of its Scientific Committee and other sub-groups will take place in Panama City, Panama from 11 June – 6 July 2012.
The annual IWC meeting will open with a discussion on whaling by indigenous people in the Arctic. The five-yearly quotas are up for renewal.
Voting on several issues will be discussed, amongst them is to declare the South Atlantic a whale sanctuary and to ask the UN to take charge of whale conservation.
For a number of countries, like the USA, renewing quotas for their indigenous peoples under Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW) rules is the top priority, according to the BBC.
"We distinguish between commercial whaling, which we oppose, and ASW which we strongly support," said Doug DeMaster, acting US commissioner to the IWC. "The cultural needs, the recognized tradition - we support the aboriginal use of large whales if they meet a 'needs' criteria that's established by the IWC, and if the removal levels are considered sustainable by the scientific committee of the IWC."
Anti-whaling groups have questioned Greenland's needs for whaling under ASW, saying that Greenland sold some of their meet commercially. A study in Greenland found whaling meat on the menu in many restaurants and also for sale in supermarkets.
The criticism states that whaling is not ment for commercial sale, one can give it away in your home but not sell it to tourists.
At this year's IWC meeting, the Danish government - which represents Greenland - is asking for an increased quota for fin and humpback whales on the basis that the indigenous peoples' need is not being met.
The meeting in Panama is likely to be lively, but governments have promised not to repead walkouts as happened in the last meeting.
The legalities of Whaling today:
Objection: A country formally objects to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium, declaring itself exempt. Example: Norway and Iceland
Scientific: A nation issues unilateral "scientific permits"; any IWC member can do this. Example: Japan
Indigenous (aka Aboriginal subsistence): IWC grants permits to indigenous groups for subsistence food. Example: Greenland