A special intersessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) opens today in Monaco to "make further progress" on a scheme that, if agreed, will take the world significantly closer to the resumption of large-scale commercial whaling. The Revised Management Scheme (RMS) aims to establish a set of rules (including those covering inspection and observation) that would be used if the IWC agreed to allow countries to hunt whales for commercial purposes again. In the past, commercial whaling brought many whale populations to the brink of extinction - a fact which led the IWC to agree to an international moratorium on all commercial whaling, which has been in effect since 1986. (1)