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The Whaling Regime. Whaling . Whale Products: oil whalebone and baleen meat Whaling History Vikings and Basques 18th century: US and Britain largest whaling fleets Early 20 th century: tragedy of the commons. The International Whaling Commission (IWC).

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The Whaling Regime

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The whaling regime l.jpg

The Whaling Regime

Whaling l.jpg


  • Whale Products:

    • oil

    • whalebone and baleen

    • meat

  • Whaling History

    • Vikings and Basques

    • 18th century: US and Britain largest whaling fleets

    • Early 20th century: tragedy of the commons

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The International Whaling Commission (IWC)

  • International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (1946)

    • -“to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry…”

  • Established the IWC

    -whaling and non-whaling states can be members;

    -15 member states until about the 1970s

    -Schedule: regulates global catch quotas; length of whaling season; partial moratoriums.

    - 3/4 majority to amend the Schedule

    -members can lodge and objection to amendments in the Schedule and thereby not be bound by these amendments

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Effect of IWC

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From Management to Conservation

  • Depleted whale stocks

  • US, New Zeeland stopped whaling

  • NGO campaign against whaling

  • 1972: Call for moratorium on commercial whaling

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US Unilateralism

  • The Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act (1971)

    - Import restrictions on international fishing operations which diminish the effectiveness of an international fishery conservation program

    • Secretary of Commerce certifies that a state is diminishing the effectiveness of the IWC

  • 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act

  • Peru, Chile, South Korea, and Taiwan: Non IWC members certified under the Pelly amendment

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US Multilateralism

  • Increase IWC participation of whaling states close to the US: Peru, Chile, South Korea, Taiwan..

  • Increase IWC participation of non-whaling states: Seychelles, Antigua and Barbuda; Oman, Kenya, Egypt…

  • Convert pro-whaling states: Argentina, Uruguay, Australia…

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Commercial Whaling Moratorium

  • Adopted in 1982;in effect since 1986-87;

  • Japan, Peru, Norway, Russia objected

  • All but Norway withdrew objection

  • Iceland left IWC in 1993

  • Aboriginal whaling allowed: US (45), Russia (170), Greenland (127), St. Vincent & Grenadines(3)

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  • Objected the Moratorium

  • 1987-temporary halt on commercial whaling;

  • Research to assess NE Atlantic minke whale stock (approx. 86,700 animals). IWC Scientific Committee confirmed Minke whales can be harvested sustainably;

  • Certified under Pelly Amendment (4 times)

  • Resumed whaling 1993

    • 549 northern minkes 2001;

    • 674 northern minkes 2002;

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  • Withdrew in 1992, but did not whale since

  • Back in the IWC in 2001

  • Entered objection to the moratorium

  • State intent to resume whaling in 2006

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  • Hunts whales for scientific purposes

    • 400 minke annually in the Antarctic; some endangered whales (e.g. 50 sei whales)

  • Sells meat on the market

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Estimates of Whale Stock

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Future of the Moratorium?

  • Irish proposal (1998) – allow whaling only in exclusive economic zones (not in deep ocean); only for domestic consumption

  • 2003 IWC resolution: 25:20 for conservation and against lifting the ban

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