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Promoting the Economic Value of Living Whales

Persuading governments and industry that a strategy to protect and grow whales populations will bring economic benefits to their countries, and help mitigate the consequences of climate change.

GWC has inspired and consulted on pioneering new work by economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and academia that quantifies the value of a whale in financial terms – bringing the protection of whales to the world of finance and global public policy.

This new work brings the following astounding facts to light.

  • A single great whale is worth at least $2,000,000.

  • A single great whale stores up to 9 tons of carbon in its body, which is 33 tons of CO2 and equivalent carbon sequestration by 2,000 trees.

  • A single great whale contributes to capturing CO2 per year equivalent to a forest with 30,000 trees–about the size of two Central Parks in NYC.


By 2030, ocean-based industries will employ more than 40 million people worldwide, an OECD report estimates. The biggest share of those jobs is likely to be in the fisheries sector, followed by tourism. The ocean economy is of particular importance in developing countries, which are home to most of the 3 billion people who rely on the sea for their livelihoods.


Whales have an important role to play in a sustainable blue economy, particularly for developing countries. Whales travel across the globe bringing ecosystem benefits and economic benefits to many countries. Countries like Kenya and the Pacific Islands are taking the lead to protect their whales as a measure to support their economies – whale watching and fisheries – and maintain healthy oceans.

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