The International Whaling Regime Essay

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The International Whaling Regime In his article, “Whale Mining, Whale Saving,” Sidney Holt states, “saving the whales is for millions of people a crucial test of their political ability to halt environmental destruction”(Holt 1985). In a world where environmental issues are often so vast that solving them seems impossible, it is rare to encounter a regime which successfully addresses these problems. If we judge a regime’s effectiveness by its ability to change the behavior of its members and possibly even encourage others to join, then the whaling regime was in fact quite effective. The significant decrease in commercial whaling brought about by the International Whaling Commission (IWC)’s 1982 moratorium is proof in itself of the…show more content…
This stipulation proved important in the evolution of the IWC over time because as non-whaling nations began to join in the 1960s and 1970s, they increased the pressure on the IWC to turn its focus from that of market regulation to a preservationist or conservationist standpoint (Andressen in Implementation and effectiveness… 1998). But why would nations who did not participate in the whaling industry want to join the IWC? One reason might be that IWC membership was an easy (and cheap) way to improve their reputation as “green-minded” without having to make any significant changes in policy. Furthermore, the decades between the 1960s and 1980s saw an increase in the number of NGO’s taking on the cause of whale conservation which also drove the IWC to re-evaluate its goals and objectives. As a result, the IWC agreed upon a 10-year moratorium on commercial whaling in1982 and put it into effect in 1986. The moratorium prohibited all commercial whaling, and granted certain quotas to indigenous peoples who needed the whales for subsistence, and to scientific research efforts. After the10 year period, it was decided that a Comprehensive Assessment would be conducted and enough data would be collected in order to reconsider the moratorium. The moratorium proved largely successful in that many stocks of larger whales such as the Bowhead whale began

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