Monica Medina Appointed U.S. Commissioner to International Whaling Commission

Will lead delegation to June meeting in Morocco

February 19, 2010

Monica Medina, Commerce Department principal deputy under secretary for oceans and atmosphere, has been appointed the U.S. commissioner for the International Whaling Commission by President Barack Obama.

The U.S. commissioner serves as the head of the U.S. delegation to meetings of the IWC and leads negotiations on issues related to the commission. Medina will lead the delegation at the next IWC annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco in June.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Medina served as a senior officer in the Pew Environment Group, where she provided advice and assistance on issues of marine law and policy. She previously was the deputy director of the U.S. Office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.  She also spent four years as a partner at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, with a practice focused on environmental law, corporate law, and biotechnology matters.

From 1992 through 1999, Medina held a number of positions in the Clinton Administration and on Capitol Hill, including NOAA General Counsel from 1997 to 1999, where she represented the United States in several international negotiations, and argued significant cases before the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Before joining NOAA, Medina served as Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, with oversight of the environment division. Earlier, she was a senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Founded in 1946, the IWC normally meets once a year to review the condition of whale stocks and to modify conservation measures as appropriate. The commission has used various means of regulating commercial whaling including a moratorium, establishment of open and closed seasons, open and closed areas, protection of certain species, size limits for each species, and limits on the catch of whales in any one season.

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