Human Interaction

Whale Wars Can One Object to the Whaling Moratorium?

posted: 05/15/12

Animal Planet presents this feature as a conversation with legal scholars. We draw no conclusions, other than that reasonable legal minds differ on these issues.

DR. BILL HOGARTH: "... You can object to the convention, which Norway did. And it says very clearly if you object then you're not held to any of the regulations.

"Or you could take a reservation ... Iceland took a reservation so it could whale.

"And then ... under Article VIII of the Convention it says that a country who wanted to do scientific whaling — whaling by permit — could set their own quota and go out and do scientific whaling.

"So, you know, what whaling basically takes place — except for maybe some back edge — [it's all ...] provided for by the IWC. And so, you know, that's what we're dealing with. And right now, most of the whales killed are taken legally or outside of the IWC — outside of the scientific (...) endeavors that take place and scientific review.

"So, it's tough. It's that you have a convention, but you have so many legal ways to go outside of the convention. And that's what's happened.

"We're killing over 2,000 whales a year outside of the IWC. [...] There's nothing to keep this number from continuing up. [...] My goal as chair has been to try to get the people around the table to talk and to bring it back under the IWC — to reduce the numbers to the absolute minimum numbers to begin with — while we try to work long-term on the issues that we have."

DR. TIMOTHY STEPHENS: "Other countries have over the years maintained scientific whaling programs — Iceland and Norway, for instance. No country really on Earth does any wide-scale commercial whaling. Iceland and Norway have from various times engaged in some commercial whaling, but nothing on the scale of Japanese scientific whaling, which is ... quite an extraordinary number or animals taken every year."

MORE: Japanese Whalers

More on
Whale Wars