IWC and Whale Watching
Yesterday afternoon the Scientific Committee reported the conclusions of its discussions on whale watching, including that this activity may have population level impacts in certain circumstances. A Steering Group has been established to finalize methodology for a ‘large scale’ study of whale watching impacts.
Many countries spoke to iterate the socio-economic importance of whale watching (eg Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, who were launching an IFAW/WDCS report on the value of whale watching in South America). Apart from emphasizing the rate of increase, the economic returns and the job creation potential, interestingly several interventions emphasized that these benefits were not just occurring in developed countries, but the benefits were now also been seen in developing countries. Whaling countries made the usual observation that, in their experience, whale watching and whale hunting can coexist nicely together.