After Whaling in the Antarctic: Amending Article VIII to Fix a Broken Treaty Regime

Anastasia Telesetsky, University of Idaho College of Law

Authors: Anastasia Telesetsky, Seokwoo Lee


Since the global decline in commercial whaling, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has been at the centre of a long-standing debate between pro-whaling industry states and whale preservation states that threatens the collapse of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) as a treaty regime. This article describes the ongoing treaty regime disagreement that led to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Whaling in the Antarctic case and suggests that the ICJ's decision highlights further weaknesses in the existing ICRW treaty regime. The fissures in the treaty regime have become even more apparent with the IWC Scientific Committee's request for more data from the Japanese government on the Proposed Research Plan for New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (NEWREP-A) and Japan's diplomatic threat to unilaterally resume whaling. The article concludes with a suggestion that States amend Article VIII in order to strengthen the existing ICRW framework.