International Whaling Commission

In J.F. Morin and A. Orsini (eds), Essential concepts of Global Environmental Governance. London, Routledge, 2014, pp. 104-106.

The International Whaling Commisiion was established in 1948. Initially membership was limited and it was only whaling nations that took part. It started out as 'whalers club', depleting all the large whales. In the next phase management was more cautious, due to better science but also because there were less whales to catch. In the third phase, in the 1980s and early 1990s, memebership increased stronly, mostly anti-whaling states and the IWC turned into a protectionist club, adopting a moratorium on all commercial whaling. More recently the pro-whaling forces have once more been on the rise, but there is a stalemate regarding the future course of the IWC. The reasons behind these changes can be found in the varying significance of power, norms and institutions.