The International Maritime Organization

The aim of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is to have co-operation between member states in the field of maritime regulations and the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships and port facilities.

IMO takes mitigation measures of impacts on cetaceans caused by transport and maritime traffic. Its Environmental Policy Committee (MEPC) runs a number of sub-committees the names of which indicate their field of activity. IMO is mainly responsible for the Marpol convention which aims to limit accidental and operational pollution by ships. The organisation is particularly concerned by the collisions of vessels as well as by the organisation of maritime routes based on the migratory routes of whales.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a joint organisation composed of states, government agencies and NGOs. Within the Commission it developed a global network "the Cetacean Specialist Group" for the survival of the species which has adopted several cetacean conservation action plans. IUCN has established a Red List of endangered cetacean species, some of which are classified as "endangered" (the porpoise in the Gulf of California, also called "vaquita", the Maui dolphin, the right whale of the Atlantic North, etc.).

The World Health Organization

Cetaceans (especially toothed whales) gather the pollution accumulated by their prey, from small fish to the giant squid.
World Health Organization (WHO) takes risk assessment and mitigation measures for public health pertaining to meat contaminated with cetaceans pollutants (mercury, PCBs, DDT, etc.) or pathogens (brucellosis, etc.) and makes recommendations to consumers of whaling countries.

For its part, the IWC is also working on the subject of cetacean meat contamination and health risks to consumers. Its most recent resolution on the subject dates from 2012 and requires exchange of information with the WHO.


Bycatch is one of the main threats to cetaceans.
FAO is responsible for taking steps under the fisheries programmes and their modernisation. These steps may have an impact on bycatches of small and large cetaceans on account of the net type and the materials used, etc.