Representatives of 80 nations are gathering in the Chilean capital Santiago for the annual, meeting the International Whaling Commission, beginning Monday.
The 62-year-old consortium, which governs the manner and extent of global whaling, has been split in recent years by forces opposed to commercial whaling and those in favor of it. The IWC imposed a moratorium on the practice in 1986.
But Japan continues to hunt whales under a provision that allows for whaling for scientific purposes. It plans to introduce a resolution at this year's meeting that will allow it to resume commercial whaling in its coastal waters.
Iceland and Norway have both resumed commercial whaling, ignoring the ban altogether.
But Australia, which opposes commercial whaling, says it will push for stronger conservation measures. A group of Latin American countries, known as the Buenos Aires Group, is expected to push for expansion of whale sanctuaries.
Among the other issues to addressed during the week-long conference are whale-related tourism and the effect of climate change on whales.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.