The effects of nearly a century of commercial whaling have had long-lasting effects. Luckily, a ban made commercial whaling illegal worldwide. But there is still work to be done to save the whales.
It is a task that has often divided scientists, ethicists, and advocates S who share a regard for biodiversity and ecological integrity, yet differ on how such goals are to be justified and promoted in policy discourse. This debate has evolved over the years as new conservation initiatives and policy proposals have taken center stage, but the core of the dispute remains relatively unchanged: Does viewing species and ecosystems as economic goods preclude seeing them as objects of moral duty?
Will the use of economic valuation methods extinguish rather than encourage public support for environmental protection? Can conservation really be expected to succeed by ignoring economic incentives bearing on the protection of wild populations and ecosystems? By calling for the establishment of quotas that could be bought and sold, it allows conservation groups as well as whalers to purchase a fixed number of whale shares, thereby providing a mechanism for whale protection as well as managed harvest.
The proposal is for the International Whaling Commission IWC to allocate the quotas to member nations on a sustainable-yield basis, which would permit buyers of whale shares to use or sell. The whale shares idea was first proposed in the January 12,issue of Nature by one of us Gerber and two other researchers: The concept was intended to attempt to deal with what many conservationists view as a significant policy failure in international whale management.
The IWC, charged with the global conservation and sustainable use of whales, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in as a temporary strategy to conserve depleted whale stocks while a more long-term plan was developed to manage whales.
Fueled by interests that challenge the ethics of whaling, however, the ban has not yet been lifted.
Though still in effect, the ban has not been effective. Despite the moratorium, whaling continues at a pace that is widely considered unsustainable. Scientific whaling, which nations primarily Japan conduct under the IWC for research purposes, results in the taking of roughly 1, whales per year.
Subsistence whaling, which the IWC allows for certain aboriginal groups for cultural or nutritional reasons, yields roughly whales per year.
Commercial whaling conducted by nations primarily Norway and Iceland under objection to the IWC yields roughly whales per year. These harvest totals have been on the rise, as whaling has more than doubled since the early s. The lack of agreement on how to manage whaling despite decades of negotiations between pro- and antiwhaling nations has called into question the future of the IWC as a path to resolution.
Despite the widely acknowledged failure of the IWC moratorium to curtail unsustainable whaling, the whale conservation market idea has proved to be wildly controversial within conservation and antiwhaling circles. Concerns have been raised about how the system would be established for example, under what guidelines would the original shares be allocated?
Many critics of the idea are also plainly not comfortable with the ethics of putting a price on such iconic species—that is, with using contingent market methods for what they believe should be a categorical ethical obligation to preserve whales.
On the other hand, the negotiation failures surrounding the global management of whales underscore the need for a realistic and pragmatic discussion about available policy alternatives. Indeed, the vulnerable status of many whale populations and the failure of the traditional regulatory response to halt unsustainable harvests call for a more innovative and experimental approach to whale policy, including considering unconventional proposals, such as the whale conservation market.
Although it has generated a fair amount of controversy among conservationists, we believe that the whale shares approach does not in fact violate the customary aesthetic, cultural, and scientific regard for whale species; nor does it require the relaxation of the moral commitment to saving species from further decline and slipping into the extinction vortex.Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store.
The effects of nearly a century of commercial whaling have had long-lasting effects. Luckily, a ban made commercial whaling illegal worldwide.
But there is still work to be done to save the whales. Nov 13, · Long after sunset, local officials and nonprofits worked to rescue a pod of whales that had become stranded off the coast of Indonesia.
In the whale conservation market debate, we believe there is an important distinction to be made between, on the one hand, advocating the use of a particular policy instrument (whale shares) to achieve an important conservation objective (maintaining sustainable whale populations) and, on the other hand, arguing that this policy instrument.
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