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The History Of Whale Watching

Today, commercial whale watching is a billion-dollar industry conducted in seventy different countries and territories, yet the industry has very humble origins. In 1955, a San Diego fisherman, Chuck Chamberlin, organized the first commercial whale-watching trip, charging customers one dollar to climb on his boat and cruise the waters of Southern California looking for gray whales. This idea began to catch on, other fishermen began taking customers out to sea, and soon many people were traveling to the West Coast just to embark on whale-watching adventures.

By the 1970s, whale-watching tours became available on the East Coast, and in 1980 a Spanish fisherman began offering similar expeditions in Gibraltar Bay. Before long, whale-watching tours were also being offered in the Caribbean, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. What began as one fisherman's attempt to make a little extra money has become a huge industry. Many people, from fishermen to Wall Street traders, have followed Chamberlin's lead and left behind more traditional careers in order to establish whale-watching tours from the Arctic to the South Pacific.

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