Episode 5 – Japan has left the IWC: Now what?

Why did Japan leave the IWC and why do we care? Contention between whaling nations and non-whaling nations allied with conservation groups helps to explain Japan’s departure from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In this episode, Andrea Kolarova, Emma Shannabrook, and Colyer Woolston explore the geopolitical history leading up to this moment, discuss competing arguments surrounding commercial whaling, and pose the question: “now what?”  The episode features an interview with Dr. Andrew Read of the Duke University Marine Lab, an expert in cetacean conservation with long-term involvement in the IWC.

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Episode Hosts

Andrea Kolarova head shot

Andrea Kolarova (B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a Certificate in Sustainability Engagement, 2020) wrote an honors thesis entitled “Sooty tern (Onychoprion fuscatus) stress & survivorship in the Dry Tortugas” with advisor Professor Stuart Pimm. At Duke, Andrea was involved with the Rachel Carson Scholars program, Project WILD, and Outdoor Adventures. Since graduating, she has been volunteering with AmeriCorps through the American Conservation Experience. Currently stationed in West Virginia, she works to protect eastern hemlocks, reduce competition from invasive plant species, and collect native seeds throughout the New River Gorge National River.

Emma Shanabrook head shot

Emma Shanabrook (B.S. in Environmental Science, Allegheny College, 2020) spent spring semester of her junior year at the Duke University Marine Lab as a study away student.  While at the marine lab she enjoyed exploring the local community, visiting Australia with the Marine Ecology class, and watching the ponies and dolphins on her morning walks. In her senior year at Allegheny, she researched how hunting season impacted the levels of lead in black and turkey vultures. At Allegheny, she was a member of the pre-veterinary club, students for environmental action, and pottery club. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dog Carter, riding horses, and whenever possible scuba diving. Emma is pursuing a career in veterinary medicine and has just finished applying.

Instagram @thatgirlonahorse

Colyer Woolston head shot

Colyer Woolston (MEM, 2019) used his time at Duke to pursued his interests in international marine conservation, policy, and management through a wide range of research experiences. Colyer was a research assistant with Duke’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab (MGEL) where he worked on the  the Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean (MiCO) project. Additionally, Colyer spent his summer as a Stanback Fellow with NRDC’s Oceans Team in San Francisco, where he focused on compliance of RFMO member countries regarding shark conservation and management, as well as the transparency of the operations of top U.S. seafood companies regarding IUU fishing and human trafficking. For his master’s project, Colyer helped to develop an evidence map identifying research gaps and important linkages between conservation interventions and their social and ecological outcomes within mangrove ecosystems. Following graduation, Colyer worked as a Data Technician in the Basurto Lab for the Illuminating Hidden Harvests (IHH) project, a collaboration between Duke, WorldFish, and the FAO that seeks to estimate global economic contributions provided by small-scale fisheries to sustainable development and governance. Most recently, Colyer was employed as a Small-Scale Fisheries Analyst with the World Bank Group’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) where he evaluated target success of World Bank projects in small-scale fisheries.


Andrew Read head shot

Andrew J Read, Stephen A. Toth Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Director, Duke University Marine Lab

Dr. Read’s research interests are in the conservation biology of long-lived marine vertebrates, particularly marine mammals, seabirds and sea turtles. Much of his current research documents the effects of human activities on populations of these species and attempts to find solutions to such conflicts. This work involves field work, experimentation and modeling. He is particularly interested in the development and application of new conservation tools.

Series Host

Lisa Campbell head shot

Dr. Lisa Campbell hosts the Conservation and Development series. The series showcases the work of students who produce podcasts as part of their term projects. Lisa introduced a podcast assignment after 16 years of teaching, in an effort to direct student energy and effort to a project that would enjoy a wider audience.

Other activities at Duke

The Marine Lab has a vibrant community of faculty, research scientists, and students studying marine mammal biology, ecology, and conservation. Learn more about work by Andy Read and the Read LabDoug Nowacek and the Nowacek Lab, and David Johnston and the Johnston Lab, and enjoy these images of Antarctic minke whales, with images provide by the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab.

Minke whale in icy water areal shot
three minke whales swimming areal shot
Episode 5 flyer

Supplemental material for this episode