Earth Island Institute

ECO: The environmental voice at the IWC

ECO is published by Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project at the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Madeira, Portugal, on behalf of environmental and animal welfare organizations around the globe.

For further information, please contact: Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director, Earth Island Institute, International Marine Mammal Project.

Whale Watching: Growing Global Phenomenon

Volume LXI · No. 4 · Madeira, Portugal · Thursday June 25, 2009
Acrobat .pdf of issue

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) reports a dramatic and sustained increase in whale watching activities around the world in 2008.

IFAW reports that last year 13 million people went on whale watching tours in 119 countries, generating a total expenditure of $2.1 billion dollars (up from $1 billion ten years ago when the last review of the industry was done).

There are an estimated 3,300 operators who run whale watching tours around the world, and they employ an estimated 13,200 people.

This represents a rate of growth of 3.7 percent annually worldwide.

Countries attending the IWC meeting should take heed. They are (if you will excuse the pun) “missing the boat” if they don’t invest in developing tourism around whale watching and protect their local whale populations.