Levy imposes on whale watchers could help end whaling: Australian researcher

14:41, September 06, 2010      

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Whale watchers in Australia could be charged a levy to compensate whaling nations for ending their hunts, an Australian researcher said on Monday.

Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Clevo Wilson said whaling nations will face job and financial losses if they stop their hunts.

Any push to end whaling must address those issues, and a levy on the whale-watching public and industry is one possible solution.

"Traditional communities in whaling countries fear that their livelihoods and their way of life would disappear if they were to stop killing whales," Prof Wilson, from the university's School of Economics and Finance told Australian Associated Press on Monday.

"Hence, the pressure on whaling governments to continue the practice. But the opposite is true for countries that oppose whaling and run whale-watching industries where live whales are the valuable resource."

Meanwhile, whale watching is an increasingly popular and profitable ecotourism industry worldwide.

"Whale watching generates more than two billion U.S. dollars in expenditure annually," Wilson said.

"In Australia, whale-watcher numbers have more than doubled from 0.73 million to more than 1.6 million between 1998 and 2008."

Wilson further said threatening to take the Japanese to the World Court is a weak plan and is doomed to fail, given whales are a mobile resource that do not belong to any one country.

" ... if the countries for whom whales are worth more alive than dead charged a small levy of say five dollars (4.6 U.S. dollars) per whale-watching tourist, whale-watching countries could compensate those for whom a dead whale is worth more than a live one."

"If we were to compensate those who would lose their livelihoods from an end to whaling, we might have a better chance of putting an end to all forms of whaling."

Source: Xinhua


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