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Whales are regarded as a totemic symbol by some nations and as a natural marine resource by others. This book presents a complex picture of legal problems surrounding the interpretation of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and the role of its regulatory body, the International Whaling Commission.
Contemporary whaling is about the competing interests of whaling nations (which are in the minority), non-whaling nations (which are in the majority) and indigenous peoples. Whales are covered by many international conventions, which has led to a very fragmented legal situation and does not necessarily ensure that whales are protected.