The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was signed in Washington, D.C. in late 1946. All 14
signatories were whaling nations. Apart from some whaling by their indigenous people, none of the original 14 whale today, and some
such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand have played leadership roles in supporting a total ban on commercial whaling.
The Convention details a strong interest in the conservation of whales and the safeguarding of this great natural resource for future
generations. The convention was concluded to provide the proper conservation of whales to assure the orderly development of the
whaling industry. The Convention- in its original form- remains in force today.
This paper examines how the Convention has been implemented through time, with particular emphasis on the role of science in the
Commission. From the start, until the early 1970's, scientific analysis and prediction were largely ignored as the IWC served as
overseer to the mass destruction of one great whale population after another. During a brief transition period in the 70's the advice of
the IWC scientists was dutifully followed over the objections of both the whaling industry and the animal protection community. By
the end of the 70s, however, enough new members, with strong anti-whaling sentiments joined the Commission and once again the
voice of science was ignored- but this time to prevent the taking of whales, regardless of their population abundance.
Aron, W. The International Whaling Commission: A Case of Malignant Neglect. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.