Washington, DC (July 6, 2021) —The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was founded to regulate whaling. Today, it also increasingly focuses on the value of live whales for planetary health. A new workshop report confirms the great ecological value of whales to help mitigate climate change, transport nutrients, enhance marine productivity, and promote biodiversity in marine ecosystems.The world’s leading experts gathered for a three-day workshop in April that was co-hosted by the IWC and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). The meeting came in response to a 2016 IWC resolution, introduced by the government of Chile, to compile scientific information about the ecological roles of cetaceans (whales and dolphins).The workshop discussions focused on a number of primary ecosystem functions of cetaceans: nutrient transport both in the water column and between their foraging and breeding grounds, the impact of whale falls (when whales die and sink to the seafloor) on biodiversity and carbon sequestration, and the role of cetaceans as predators and prey. A series of expert presentations provided compelling evidence of the multi-faceted and beneficial impacts of cetaceans on marine ecosystems, such as their contribution to ocean productivity through their excrement (which can impact fishing yields) and their large bodies acting as carbon sinks (which can contribute to combating climate change)."It is meaningful that the commission embraced the principles of the resolution that we proposed in 2016 for the protection of these marine mammals,” said Jose Fernandez, Chilean commissioner to the IWC. “It is a strong recognition — of a permanent and visionary nature — about the need and obligation of our society to strengthen an ethical imperative. Its effects will translate into an instrument of enormous effectiveness for the protection and sustainable use of marine resources and ocean ecosystems, as well as to tackle the harmful effects of climate change.”