31 Ocean L. Memo 1 (1987)

handle is hein.journals/ocoaslme31 and id is 1 raw text is: 




Ocean and Coastal  Law Center * School of Law  * University of Oregon  * Eugene  97403






   i Ocean Law Xem


October 15, 1987


INTERNATIONAL REGULATION OF WHALING:  THE U.S. ROLE


I.   INTRODUCTION

     The  history of whaling  dates back
thousands  of years, but  it was techno-
logical  developments in  the eighteenth
and  nineteenth centuries that lade very
efficient whale hunts possible.   Before
this  great  increase in  whaling, there
were an  estimated 3.9 million whales in
the world's oceans.  By 1975, the number
of  whales was  reduced to approximately
2.1   million,    with   proportionately
greater reductions in the populations of
the  larger  baleen species  demanded by
the whaling industry.  For example, some
species  in the Antarctic  have declined
as much as ninety- ix percent during the
twentieth century.

     Originally, whales  were considered
a valuable  resource for oil  and baleen
(whalebone).  Since the 1960's the whale
meat has  been used for  pet food, agri-
cultural  feed, and  in a  few countries
for human consumption.   After World War
II,  whales   became  an   even  greater
resource for  oil for use  as high grade
industsial  lubricants   and  industrial
waxes.    Today, whales are  also recog-
nized as valuable aesthetic, recreation-
al, and scientific resources.

     The  following is a  review of  the


history  of  international  attempts  to
manage whale populations and a report of
a major controversy between the U.S. and
Japan concerning an international effort
toward  whale conservation.   Also  dis-
cussed  is an update of  recent develop-
ments,  including the commercial whaling
moratorium  and its  exemptions for  ab-
original   subsistence  and   scientific
whaling.


II.  INTERNATIONAL  AND  DOMESTIC  LEGAL
     FRAMEWORK

     A.  The ICRW and the IWC

     In 1946, fifteen nations formed the
International Convention for the Regula-
tion of  Whaling (ICRW) to  establish a
system  of international regulation  for
the whale fisheries to ensure proper and
effective  conservation an   development
of whale  stocks .  . . .   While  some
countries joined with a general interest
to protect  the whale, most  became mem-
bers to  further tpeir commercial inter-
ests  in whaling.     The  ICRW now  has
forty-one member nations, most  of which
either have  discontinued or  have never
participated in commercial whaling.  The
eight  countries  still   identified  as
commercial  whaling nations  are  Japan,


1.   S. Frost, The Whaling Question (1979).

2.   Scarff, The International Management of Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: An
     Interdisciplinary Assessment, 6 Ecology L.Q. 323 (1977).

3.   S. Frost, The Whaling Question (1979); G. Smith, The International Whaling
     Commission: An Analysis of the Past and Reflections on the Future, 16 Nat.
     Resources Law 543 (1983-84); P. Birnie, International Regulation of Whaling:
     From Conservation of Whaling to Conservation of Whales and Regulation of Whale
     Watching, Vol. 1 (1985).

4.   International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, Dec. 2, 1946, 62 Stat.
     1716, T.I.A.S. No. 1849 (hereinafter Convention), Preamble.

5.   G. Smith, The International Whaling Commission: An Analysis of the Past and
     Reflections on the Future, 16 Nat. Resources Law 543 (1983-84).


ISSUE 31

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