[MARMAM] WDC announces the release of report “Whale Watching: More than Meets the Eyes”.

Regina Asmutis-Silvia regina.asmutis-silvia at whales.org
Fri Jun 7 15:13:53 PDT 2013

Whale and Dolphin Conservation, WDC, announces the release of their report “Whale Watching: More than Meets the Eyes”.   While previous studies have focused on the economic benefits of commercial whale watching, this is the first study to document the potential long term conservation benefits that may result from responsible whale watching experiences.

More than 1,000 passengers boarding whale watching vessels in Massachusetts participated in a three part survey to determine whether the information a passenger received during a whale watch made them aware of the ocean’s vulnerability and, as a result, increased their awareness of how their own behavior impacts the marine environment.  Participants were also asked if specific vessel operational guidelines and training programs were considered important to them.

In general, whale watchers did not appear to know how to support marine mammal conservation before their tour started. A significant change was observed after the trip, where respondents indicated they became aware of how to support marine mammal conservation and became more worried about the health of the marine environment.  Further, they believed that their own decisions, like the use of cleaning products used in their households, can negatively affect the marine environment.

According to the survey, the most important aspect to the whale watchers was having the boat maintain a safe distance from the whales and knowing that the boat was following guidelines, which was regarded as being more important than being as close to the whales as possible.  Knowing that the naturalist and captain receiving specialized whale watch training was also considered to be very important to survey participants.

The 114 page report was conducted as part of a graduate project through the North American office of Whale and Dolphin Conservation and was funded by a grant from NOAA’s Fisheries Northeast Region Program Office, Award Number NA11NMF4720240. Download the report at http://bit.ly/126LFoz

For specific inquiries regarding the report, please contact Michel Harms  (michel.harms at whales.org<mailto:michel.harms at whales.org>)

[WDC - Whale and Dolphin Conservation]<http://www.whales.org/>

Regina Asmutis-Silvia
Executive Director, NA

Telephone: +1 508 746 2522
Mobile: +1 508 451 3853
Skype: wdcs.na

WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation
7 Nelson Street
United States

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