[MARMAM] New publication: Conservation Benefits of Whale Watching in Juneau, Alaska

Alicia Schuler alicia.r.schuler at gmail.com
Mon Dec 30 09:49:34 PST 2019


Dear colleagues,

I am excited to announce the publication of the following open access
article in Tourism in Marine Environments:
https://doi.org/10.3727/154427319X15719404264632

Schuler, A.R., & Pearson H.C. (2019). Conservation benefits of whale
watching in Juneau, Alaska. *Tourism in Marine Environments, 14*(4),
231-248. doi: 10.3727/154427319X15719404264632

*Conservation Benefits of Whale Watching in Juneau, Alaska*

*Abstract*:
An increasing number of visitors to Juneau, AK, alongside a predictable
population of humpback whales (*Megaptera novaeangliae*), has supported the
substantial growth of its whale-watching industry. The industry provides
benefits to the community through economic gains, while the experience can
foster environmental awareness and support for protection of whales and the
environment. However, the sustainability of the industry could be
jeopardized if increasing whale-watching vessel pressure affects the health
of its resource, the whales. This study investigates whether participation
in whale-watching tours in Juneau, AK can support conservation of whales
and the environment. Participant knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and
behaviors were obtained from 2,331 respondents in surveys before, after,
and 6 months after a whale-watching tour during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Following a whale watch, the percentage of participants that indicated
whale watching as a knowledge source increased (p = 0.022), awareness of
guidelines and regulations doubled (p < 0.001), and strong support for
regulations increased (p = 0.016). Six months later, these responses
remained significantly higher than before the whale watch. Despite
knowledge of distance threshold increasing after a whale watch (p = 0.003)
and 6 months after (p = 0.021), getting close to whales remained an
important factor in a participant's whale watch. Participants had a higher
likelihood of strongly supporting guidelines and regulations if they
indicated that boats can have a negative impact on whales or were aware of
guidelines and regulations. Lastly, participants that acknowledged negative
effects on whales from boats had higher overall proenvironmental attitudes.
This study indicates that incorporating messages that facilitate
participant awareness of guidelines/regulations and the purpose of those
measures can support conservation and protection of local whale populations
through managing participant expectations and ultimately encouraging
operator compliance.

The paper can be accessed freely using the following link:
https://doi.org/10.3727/154427319X15719404264632

Please feel free to contact me at alicia.r.schuler at gmail.com if you have
any queries.

Happy holidays!

Alicia R. Schuler, M.Sc.
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