Santa Barbara, CA Every year, a group of anti-whaling nonprofit organizations that includes Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and the World Wildlife Fund spend, by conservative estimates, some $25 million on a variety of activities intended to end commercial whaling.
And every year, commercial whaling not only continues, but grows.
Under the current, largely unregulated system, the number of whales harvested annually has doubled since the early 1990s, to about two thousand per year. Further, many populations of large whales have been severely depleted and continue to be threatened by commercial whaling.
While protests, education, lobbying and dangerous confrontations on the high seas have saved some whales, the whaling industry shows no sign of shutting down or slowing down.
Now, an economist and two marine scientists writing in the January 12 issue of the journal Nature suggest a new strategy that they believe could save whales by putting a price on them.
In the article, "A market approach to saving the whales," Christopher Costello and Steve Gaines, professors of economics and marine science, respectively, at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, join Leah Gerber, a population ecologist and marine conservation biologist at Arizona State University, to propose a market-based solution to saving whales.
"We propose an alternative path forward that could break the deadlock: quotas that can be bought and sold, creating a market that would be economically, ecologically, and socially viable for whalers and whales alike," the authors write.
"The authors have put forth some bold, fresh thinking aimed at a barbaric practice that has become an intractable problem," said The Nature Conservancy California Executive Director Mike Sweeney.
The idea has its roots in trading markets for such air pollutants as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxi
|Contact: Christopher Costello|
University of California - Santa Barbara