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Scientific Uncertainty and the Politics of Whaling

By Michael Heazle

Publication Year: 2006

Published by: University of Washington Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

In the course of completing this work, I have been fortunate to have had the help and cooperation of a great many people—all of whom kindly gave their time and effort to answer my many questions. Firstly, I would like to thank Dr. John Butcher and Professor Nick Knight, my colleagues at Griffith University, for all their generous advice, support, and patience. ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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One - Introduction

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pp. 3-35

Established under the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has, since its first meeting in 1949, been the main forum for debate over the hunting of various whale species and the kinds of management that should be applied to them. ...

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Two - The IWC 1949–59: An Exercise in Uncertainty Becoming Certainty

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pp. 36-65

Under the IWC’s stewardship during the 1950s, hunting was mainly focused on three species—the blue, fin, and humpback. Each of these species, despite warnings from the commission’s Scientific Committee, was hunted to the point of near extinction in the Antarctic, where the majority of whaling operations occurred.1 ...

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Three - The Antarctic Collapse: Uncertainty Takes a (Brief) Holiday

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pp. 66-106

As discussed in chapter 2, the excessive catching and investment by the five Antarctic nations during the 1950s was largely the result of the postwar demand for fats, the intense competition encouraged by the single quota system, and—most importantly—the general unwillingness of governments to ...

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Four - The Worm Turns: The IWC’s Reinterpretation of Uncertainty

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pp. 107-132

Chapter 3 discussed the circumstances that led up to the collapse of the Antarctic stocks and also much of the industry that relied upon them, with particular emphasis on how the use of scientific uncertainty arguments declined as empirical evidence of overhunting became more and more convincing. ...

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Five - Scientific Uncertainty and the Evolution of the Superwhale

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pp. 133-176

The IWC’s adoption of a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982 was a major turning point in the commission’s treatment of scientific uncertainty. By adopting the moratorium, the commission, for the first time in its history, interpreted and used scientific uncertainty as a basis for ceasing all commercial whaling. ...

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Six - Conclusion

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pp. 177-188

The end of chapter 1 outlined a hypothetical situation concerning the discovery of minke whale oil as the source of an effective and safe cancer treatment and asked how such a discovery might affect the debate over uncertainty issues concerning population estimates, MSY rates and levels, and so on. ...


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pp. 189-202


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pp. 203-236


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pp. 237-252


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pp. 253-260

E-ISBN-13: 9780295802008
E-ISBN-10: 0295802006
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295986050
Print-ISBN-10: 0295986050

Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Whaling -- Political aspects.
  • International Whaling Commission.
  • Whales -- Conservation -- Decision making.
  • Uncertainty (Information theory).
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