Whale watching more valuable than hunting
Whale watching has mushroomed in recent years into a billion dollar tourist industry that far outweighs the value of whale hunting, according to a report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. During the 1990s, the number of people going on whale-watching tours nearly tripled, hitting 10 million to 11 million in 2000.
Whale watchers paid more than $300 million for tour tickets last year and far more for land-based costs surrounding the tours, the report says.
The industry is growing 12 percent a year, triple the rate of international tourism in general.
In contrast, the wholesale value of whale meat sold last year in Japan, one of the last major whaling nations, was put at $32 million.
By using a tracking network of underwater microphones and human spotters on land, air and sea, tour companies say they have a 98 percent success rate for whale-watching expeditions off the Northwest Pacific coast of the U.S.A.
Worldwide, whale-watching tours are available in 495 cities, say researchers.
Source: James Brooke, The Watch for Whales Is Outpacing the Hunts, New York Times, August 19, 2001; Erich Hoyt, WHALE WATCHING 2001: Worldwide Tourism Numbers, Expenditures, And Expanding Socio-economic Benefits, International Fund for Animal Welfare, August 2001.
For text http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/19/international/americas/19CANA.html
For IFAW report http://www.ifaw.org/page.asp?unitid=357
For more on Privatizing the Environment http://www.ncpa.org/pi/enviro/envdex4f.html
FMF\28 August 2001
Publish date: 04 September 2001
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.