Commercial whaling, tourism, and boycotts: An economic perspective
Commercial whaling is highly contentious, angering animal rights groups and conservation organizations, who threaten boycotts. Proponents of whaling argue that many whale stocks are plentiful enough to support sustainable harvests. In terms of economic efficiency, a nation's decision to engage in whaling depends on rents from the whaling industry, ecological and market linkages, and the potential for boycotts. We analyze the tradeoffs involved in a nation's decision to engage in whaling, whale-watching, and fishing. Scenarios exist in which whaling is economically rational. Indeed, sometimes it makes economic sense to subsidize whaling. In other circumstances, market pressures make commercial whaling inefficient.