Leading the way to make responsible whale watching part of the fabric of the Azores, the Azores Promotion Board, the Regional Directorate of Sea Affairs, and the World Cetacean Alliance have announced a second responsible whale watching workshop will take place on 13 and 14 April on Pico Island. This workshop is a follow up to the responsible whale watching workshop which took place on 30 October 2015 in Horta, Faial. Cet Law, through Executive Director Natalie Barefoot, is honoured to participate as a co-facilitator of this important workshop.
Stakeholders will come together to address areas prioritized in the first workshop, including, amongst other items:
- How to improve communication and collaboration between stakeholders including whale watching operators, researchers, government and others
- Revisions to current whale watching legislation
- Revisions to in-water “swim with” encounters guidelines
- A new strategy for monitoring and enforcing whale watching guidelines
Also in discussion will be the Whale Heritage Sites’ criteria and how the Azores, which is seeking to become one of the first locations in the world to be designated as a Whale Heritage Site, can achieve them. Established by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), Whale Heritage Sites are an innovative initiative aimed at increasing the protection and conservation of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and their habitats while contributing to sustainable livelihoods, the arts, science and education. Whale Heritage Site status will be granted to those places around the world where cetaceans are celebrated through art, education, research and cultural events; where sustainable practices and livelihoods are continually improved to ensure the health of cetacean habitats and long-term economic health of the community; and where respectful interactions between humans and cetaceans are supported through law, policy and cooperative efforts
For more information, see release on this subject from the World Cetacean Alliance.
In the photo operators and stakeholders discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Azore’s current swim with regulations.