U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



For consideration by the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission; Agadir, Morocco 31 May – 11 June 2010


The Government of Japan, through the Institute for Cetacean Research (Tokyo), has established a DNA register for whales taken under special permit or otherwise destined for commercial markets (IWC 2005; IWC 2010a). The functionality of this DNA register, for the purposes of traceability/trackability, is critical to the current negotiations on the future of the IWC (IWC 2010b). Here we request access to the DNA register for 3 species of whales (fin, sei and Antarctic minke) for the purposes of tracking the origins of whale products purchased at commercial outlets in Seoul, South Korea and Santa Monica, US, as described in the Baker et al. (2010). The attached proposal was included as Supplementary Material to this published article and submitted for consideration to the IWC Data Availability Group (DAG) on 12 April 2010. However, the DAG declined to forward the proposal to the data holders, recommending that we “wait until the Scientific Committee has reviewed the proposed DNA register/market sampling text in the draft Consensus Decision in accordance with the Commission's instructions and then reported to the Commission itself” (email 16 May 2010). We assume that this will take place at SC/62 in Agadir and request that this proposal be considered for endorsement by the DNA subcommittee.