Whale-Watchers In Australia May Pay Levy To Stop Japan’s Whaling

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.”

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3 Responses to Whale-Watchers In Australia May Pay Levy To Stop Japan’s Whaling

  1. ElleSea June 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    It’s a thought well worth pursuing.  With the human population as large and growing as it is, the only thing that will prevent the extinction of the wildlife we love will be if they are worth more alive than dead.   There is alread precedence for this kind of proposal.  In California,  farmers are paid to not harvest grain fields when that would destroy the nests of a particular bird, even though the nests of this bird are protected by law.  The state is not going to charge these farmers with breaking the law, so the choice is pay them for their losses or let the bird slip into oblivion.  In this case, the expense is likewise covered largely by public donations.  Point being, that we need to get more creative if we are going to keep species like these in the world. 

  2. vincent burke June 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Pay Dracula to NOT drink blood…this curious Mr Wilson would have us pay Japan to Not break the law in Antarctica (Federal Court judgement of 2009)…at $5 per head per whale watcher we would raise, say $5,000,000 per year for them to shut down a $200,000,000 industry…this is one professor of “economics” that should have been a plumber.

  3. Malcolm J. Brenner June 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I believe that, anywhere else in the world, paying somebody so they won’t kill someone or something is called EXTORTION.  And it’s illegal for a reason.