Whaling played a central role in the economy of the islands. The first documentary reference to the capture of whales in the waters of the Azores goes back to the 16th century. Between 1896 and 1949, 12.000 whales were killed in the Azores. Whaling was officially prohibited in 1982, and the ban was fully implemented in 1986.

The conversion of a whaling industry to a whale watching industry in the Azores is a prime example of how cetaceans can offer value to a community in a sustainable way. Although resistant at first, research indicates that local inhabitants are satisfied with the income that whale watching generates for them and their families and that they feel safer in this new activity.

Read more in this Case Study from the International Whaling Commission.