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IWC Notes Growth of Whale Watching Industry Worldwide


ULSAN, Korea, June 23 -- After rejecting Japanese proposals to expand whaling, the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) today turned its attention to the continuing growth of the whale watching industry worldwide. According to global assessments conducted by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) boat and land-based whale watching operations now exist in 90 countries and territories contributing more than one billion dollars in direct and indirect tourism revenues to coastal communities worldwide.

“More and more countries are saying no to whaling and yes to whale watching,” said Dr. Joth Singh, IFAW delegate to the IWC meeting. “Whale watching is a win-win solution for whales and people, bringing terrific economic opportunities to coastal communities worldwide. It’s the 21st century alternative to whaling -- a truly sustainable use of whales.”

The Government of New Zealand formally presented a new IFAW report at today’s meeting, The Growth of the New Zealand Whale Watching Industry, which documents the rewards New Zealand is reaping from its healthy whale and dolphin watching industry. 425,000 people went whale watching in New Zealand last year contributing close to $120 million to the New Zealand economy in 2004.

“New Zealand is very proud of our thriving whale watch industry and we are determined to protect the natural resources that sustain it,” said Chris Carter, New Zealand Conservation Minister. “We are tabling the IFAW report as an example to coastal nations of what can be achieved when whales are protected and not hunted,” Carter said. “I congratulate IFAW on the quality of their research and the effective role they play in working with countries to enable them to profit from protection.”

Japan and other pro-whaling countries attending this week’s meeting have said whaling and whale watching can co-exist. “You can’t have your whale and eat it too,” said Dr. Singh. “Without the whales there would be no whale watching. Animals and people both do better when whales are seen and not hurt.”

A copy of the new IFAW report is available on the IFAW Web site at


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