Alison Rieser

Document Type

Symposium Article


In its first campaign of ocean diplomacy for the twenty-first century, the United States is trying to save the international whaling regime from breaking apart over the issue of commercial whaling. On the assumption that a reformed whaling regime could address the challenges whales face due to global warming, negotiators have come closer to a compromise than any previous attempt. But any effort to maintain a role for the International Whaling Commission (IWC) must not undermine the application by other regimes of new international norms, which include protecting the integrity and resilience of marine ecosystems. A compromise that does not repudiate the “whales-eat-our-fish” notion underlying the IWC’s current view of the ecosystem approach will hinder progress in other ocean governance institutions whose need for reform greatly surpasses that of the IWC.