We raise the possibility that countries opposed to whaling could stop other nations that continue the practice simply by paying them compensation. This idea is inspired by a survey we conducted in February 2016 in Australia and Japan.

We found that the maximum amount Australians would be willing to pay to discourage Japan's whaling programme was Aus$31.4 (US$23.6) per year per household. This exceeded the minimum compensation required by the Japanese for giving up their current whaling activities (see M. Wakamatsu et al. Mar. Policy 81, 312–321; 2017).

The benefits would go beyond those of a monetary transaction. Non-whaling countries would gain assurance of cetacean welfare and conservation worldwide. Whaling countries would no longer be ostracized by the international community.

Global evaluation of whaling involving all stakeholders would refine this bargaining. Important non-economic factors such as cultural values would need to be taken into account. These could be offset by, for instance, public education programmes in the ecological and conservation advantages of giving up whaling, and by developing alternatives to whale products that are acceptable to consumers.