Whales, large, mysterious, intelligent, and endangered. Has any mammal inspired such romantic images of the sea and love for nature as much as the whale, yet aroused such controversy in global environmental conservation? King of the Seas, symbol of the environmental movement, meat and oil for commercial whaling. Over the years, large-scale commercial whaling has depleted a number of whale populations to a significant extent, resulting in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) issuing a moratorium on whaling in 1986. The moratorium advocates a ban on whale hunting but tolerates indigenous and scientific hunting. World-wide attitudes toward whaling shifted gradually from economic necessity and widespread acceptance to moral censure. The current debate centres on the appropriateness of this global ban. Strong opposition is given by communities in Japan, Norway and Iceland, three countries still supporting whaling. The reputed recovery of some whale populations has been put forward as their argument for resuming limited commercial whaling. Some recent developments will illustrate the highly controversial nature of whaling.
A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection
- Burchfield, C., The Legal Cetacean: A Select Bibliography on Whales and International Whaling, International Journal of Legal Information, 36 (2008), No. 3, pp. 490-505.
- Burnett, D.G., Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case that Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2007.
- Burns, W.C.G. and A. Gillespie (eds.), The Future of Cetaceans in a Changing World, Ardsley, NY, Transnational, 2003.
- Darby, A., Harpoon: Into the Hart of Whaling, Cambridge, MA, Da Capo Press, 2008.
- Epstein, C., The Power of Words in International Relations: Birth of an Anti-Whaling Discourse, Cambridge, The MIT Press, 2008.
- Friedheim, R.L. (ed.), Toward a Sustainable Whaling Regime, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 2001.
- Gillespie, A., Whaling Diplomacy: Defining Issues in International Environmental Law, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2005.
- Stoett, P.J., The International Politics of Whaling, Vancouver, UBC Press, 1997.