Whaling Diplomacy
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Whaling Diplomacy

Defining Issues in International Environmental Law

Alexander Gillespie

Whaling Diplomacy is the only book that addresses all of the substantive issues relating to the conservation of whales through the International Whaling Commission (IWC). It covers the law, policy, science and philosophy at the heart of each element of the debate, discussing how it has developed, the current problems that beset it and what is necessary for the future. Together, all of the issues involved in whaling form a single crucible through which the future of conservation in international environmental law is being debated.
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Chapter 17: Conclusion

Alexander Gillespie


1 INTRODUCTION Having worked through thousands of words, it is now possible to state my conclusion. In doing so, I intend to keep this final chapter quite brief, so that it is possible to see my overall thesis, rather than a collection of reconstituted chapter conclusions. My thesis is that there are three primary issues before the international community operating within the IWC. Depending on how the IWC comes to terms with each of these, will directly affect the success or failure of its enterprise. 2 THE THREATS ARE CHANGING Historically, the greatest threat to cetaceans was overharvesting. In the present and future it is likely that whales, dolphins and porpoises will face different threats. These will be less visible than, but just as deadly as, the traditional forms of whaling that have commonly led to their overexploitation and population decline. The new threat to a majority of cetacean species which are still threatened, and may yet become the greatest ever threat, is that of anthropogenic environmental change and the multiple sources of pollution that the change manifests itself in. The responses by the international community to threats from the oceans, from oil to marine dumping, are being confronted in specifically related forums. Likewise, the international threats from POPs and the ozone layer are also, arguably, being confronted. However, in addition to the numerous loopholes in all of the above regimes, is the general failure of the international community to adequately confront the multiple sources of land-based pollution, or the...

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