Greg Stolz, Courier-Mail
AUSTRALIA should pay Japan to end whaling rather than try to stop it in the courts, a Queensland academic says.
Queensland University of Technology economics professor Clevo Wilson has called for whale-watching tourists to pay a $5 levy to compensate the Japanese for the loss of whaling.
He said whales were worth more to Japan and other pro-whaling nations dead than alive, and a levy on Queensland’s multimillion dollar whalewatching industry could fund a compensation scheme.
The Australian Government has launched action in the International Court of Justice in The Hague to halt Japan’s so-called scientific whaling program in the Southern Ocean.
But Prof Wilson said the court action was a “weak” option and paying the whalers to stop would be easier.
“Traditional communities in whaling countries fear that their livelihoods and their way of life would disappear if they were to stop killing whales,” he said.
“Whales are a ‘common property’ resource outside a country’s maritime boundaries. This is why going to courts won’t resolve the issue.
“On the other hand, if the countries for whom whales are worth more alive than dead charged a small levy of, say, $5 per whale-watching tourist, whale-watching countries could compensate those for whom a dead whale is worth more than a live one.”
Prof Wilson said whale-watching was an increasingly popular and lucrative industry and could afford to bankroll a compensation scheme.
“The whale-watching industry has grown from nine million whale watchers across 87 countries in 1998 to 13 million whale watchers in 119 countries in 2008,” Prof Wilson said.
“Hervey Bay’s whale-watching tourism alone earns approximately $50 million a year.”