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International Whaling Commission

  • By: Michael M. Gunter
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Since its inception in late 1946, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has evolved from what was essentially a whalers club to an international organization attempting to protect some of the most highly migratory species on the planet. Over the years, however, efforts to truly protect these aquatic mammals within the cetacean family have been severely hampered. IWC membership is voluntary, and key rules are riddled with loopholes that allow nation-states to continue whaling if they file protests within a 90-day window or simply label their hunts as “scientific research.” Furthermore, the IWC has no authority to enforce any of its decisions through penalties—and even these ineffectual regulations do not apply to nonmembers.

Antiwhaling activists photographed these Japanese vessels taking a minke whale in the Pacific ...

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