Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Yui Nishi


Whaling has become a global controversy over the past few decades. In particular, countries such as Japan continue to hunt small cetaceans for both consumption and curbing purposes. Moreover, "small cetaceans" do not fall under the protection of the International Whaling Commission (hereafter "IWC"); therefore, the hunts are virtually unregulated. While the intensely emotional aspect is a significant part of the controversy, this note proposes a scientific, reason-based approach to this topic, which considers what solutions may be beneficial to all countries involved. Specifically, this note proposes that nations through international cooperation (1) conduct intensive scientific research in order to determine the actual numbers of and threats (or lack thereof) to the various cetaceans, (2) invent humane and efficient alternatives to the current hunting methods that are acceptable and more beneficial to the whaling countries, and (3) establish a more effective alternative to the IWC either within the United Nations itself, or in the form of extending UN support to the IWC to strengthen the organization. To achieve this end, the paper proposes that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea either take over the role of the IWC going forward or, alternatively, work in conjunction with the IWC to act as the overarching authority and provide effective enforcement mechanisms.