Whale tourism must be ethical and sustainable

Under the theme 'Towards Responsible Tourism for Cetaceans', the International Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit, which is taking place in Durban this week, hopes to promote ethical and sustainable tourism around this iconic species. The recovery of humpback whales along the KZN coastline is a conservation success story which Whale Timeproject manager Rachel Kramer intends to keep up. The humpback whale population was nearly wiped out, with only about 340 of the ocean giants left due to whaling which ended in 1975. Over the past 15 years however, they have flourished to over 7000.

“Looking at these numbers highlights why it is so important for us to get this citizen science project to grow so we can help marine scientists and contribute to the understanding of the movement and population dynamics of the South African East Coast Humpback whale migration stocks ... With increasing threats from human activities including pollution, entanglement from fishing gear, noise pollution and ship strikes, the last thing we want is irresponsible whale watchers to add to these issues.” -- Rachel Kramer of the Whale Time Project

The WhaleTime project has four main elements:
1. Research: assess, monitor and communicate the recovery, conservation status and population dynamics of East Coast Humpback whales
2. Citizen Science: involve citizens in monitoring and research on whales, thus building public knowledge and creating powerful advocates for conservation of the ocean
3. Ecotourism: put the East Coast whale migration on the local and international map as an amazing conservation and tourism phenomenon
4. Community Guiding: provide an opportunity for coastal communities to appreciate the value of marine conservation through involving them in whale eco-tourism

READ FULL ARTICLE: Whale tourism must be ethical and sustainable: http://northcoastcourier.co.za/87432/whale-tourism-must-ethical-sustainable/
World Whale Conference 2017: http://worldwhaleconference.org/ 
Sights set on Durban becoming a Whale Heritage Site: http://www.rovingreporters.co.za/2017/06/11/sights-set-on-durban-becoming-a-whale-heritage-site/