Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
For the past ten or fifteen years, humans have capitalized on southern right whales, as well as other whales and aquatic mammals. Currently, the increasing popularity of whale watching and coastal tourism has led to the whales having a positive economic impact on humans. The development of whale watching has promoted economic benefits to coastal communities while increasing the protection and awareness of the species - stressing the importance of environmental quality and conservation. This benefit to the whales and their habitat contrasts sharply with previous economic exploitation of southern right whales. They were extensively hunted for oil and meat before becoming protected.