Economics 101: Don't kill whales - Oceana USA
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October 30, 2006

Economics 101: Don’t kill whales

Two weeks ago, Iceland announced it would defy the 20-year old worldwide whaling ban and resume its commercial whale hunt. They sure didn’t waste any time! Two whales have already been caught, leaving 37 more kills to go.

Iceland claims this decision is all about business, so let’s take a look at the business side of what they actually are doing. For those of you who slept through this lesson in high school, I’d like to tell you about a little thing I like to call “economics.”

Economics is all about supply and demand. The supply is whales (we’ll consider this low, since they’re endangered and all). Then there’s demand, or in this case, lack thereof. As it turns out, Iceland’s got two dead whales sitting on ice, but no one will buy their meat …

A recent poll by the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that only one percent of the Icelandic population eats whale meat once a week, while 82 percent never eat it at all. And they can’t really sell it to other countries, since CITES forbids countries from importing whale meat.

So to recap: low supply + virtually no demand = no financial justification to resume commercial whaling. Not that business principles should be driving any decisions regarding whales in the first place.