In a report published by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), revenues from whale watching in 2oo8 reached 1.3 billion pounds, double what it was a decade ago. This suggests that whale watching is far more profitable than killing them. Globally, whale watching has grown by 3.7% each year in the last decade. Last year alone, 13 million tourists in 119 countries went whale watching amd created almost 13,000 jobs.
On the other hand, A World Wildlife Fund analysis studied the range of direct and indirect costs associated with whaling, processing and marketing of whale products, combined that data with declining demand for whale meat and negative impacts trade and tourism boycotts. The analysis suggested that commercial whaling has little or no return for either the country’s economy or the taxpayers subsidizing hunting.
Citing Norway as an example, the government there has spent about US$5 million on public information, public relations and lobbying campaigns to garner support for whaling since 1992. Norway spent another US$10.5 million to cover the costs but scrapped it due to losses to the whalers. Japan, another nation actively continuing to hunt whales, needed US$12 million in taxpayer bailout to just break even last year. Overall, Japanese subsidies for whaling amounted to US$164 million since 1988. Wholesale prices of whale meat have plummeted since 1994.
"It’s clearly the most sustainable use of whales', said Patrick Ramage of the IFAW. 'You can watch the same whales dozens of times, but you can kill a whale only once."