The World Cetacean Alliance has launched a new initiative – Whale Heritage Sites – to recognise those worldwide destinations which champion responsible whale and dolphin watching and celebrate the cultural importance of the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) living in the waters around them.
It represents a new approach to whale conservation, focussing on the destination rather than just specific operators, and aims to be used to show that just as responsible whale watching is better for the whales, so they also help the destination, as they encourage tourism and boost revenues. The first destinations to be analysed with the potential to be Whale Heritage Sites are: Azores, Portugal; Silver Bank, Dominican Republic; El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, Mexico; Hervey Bay, Australia; Iceland; Kaikoura, New Zealand; Massachusetts, USA; Outer Barrier Reef, Australia; Washington State / British Columbia (USA/Canada); Peninsula Valdez, Argentina; South Africa; and Tonga.
“In my opinion the best possible way to protect ocean wildlife is to encourage people to see it for themselves in a responsible way,” said Secretariat of WCA, Dylan Walker. “If, through Whale Heritage Sites, those same people can also experience coastal communities that celebrate and care for their marine natural heritage and understand the importance of a sustainable approach, we may yet win the battle to save our oceans.”
- The first Whale Heritage Sites Summit will be held this October in the Azores Islands, reflecting the islands’ long standing position as a mecca for whale and dolphin enthusiasts.
- WCA will complete the Best Practice Framework for whale and dolphin watching in September 2015.
- The World Cetacean Alliance is the world’s largest Partnership working to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans), representing 70 partners in 23 countries worldwide.
- For more information about Whale Heritage Sites and the Whale Heritage Sites Summit to be held on Faial in the Azores on 28 – 30 October 2015, click here.
- Follow the World Cetacean Alliance on Twitter
- Learn more about best practices in whale watching in this report
- Read best practice case studies of whale watching destinations.
- Download this IFAW report showing that watching whales alive is worth a lot more to destinations than hunting them.