International group of distinguished researchers to play a keyrole in the development and revision of dolphin and whale watching standards
Friend of the Sea, the preeminent global certification standard for products and services that respect and protect the marine environment, announced today that it has appointed nine experts to its newly-formed Scientific Committee advising the Friend of the Sea Dolphin and Whale Watching standard. This international group of distinguished researchers in the field of cetaceans and whale watching will play a keyrole in the development and revision of dolphin and whale watching standards. The committee appointment lasts for two years.
“We feel honored that individuals of this caliber have chosen to work with us on setting standards for sustainable dolphin and whale watching,” said Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. “As an NGO, it’s critical for us to be a part of the global research community and listen to the input that the best minds have to offer. That way, our standards reflect the most up-to-date and relevant research insights available.”
The new committee members are Mehdi Aissi of Tunisia, Jessica Alessi and Cristina Fiori of Italy, Chiara Giulia Bertulli of the UK, Mariano Coscarella from Argentina, Putu Liza Musika of Indonesia, Enrico Pirotta of Ireland, Valeria Senigaglia of Australia and Ann Carole Vallejo of Colombia. There is one committee member from each continent. They will serve until June, 2022.
The Dolphin and Whale Watching standard, one of several such certified programs, establishes criteria for whale and dolphin watching programs that will not harm the animals or their habitats. For example, they set a maximum number of vessels in the dolphin watching area at any one time. They limit boats’ maximum approach speed as well as the distance between the boats and the dolphins. The standard prohibits swimming with the dolphins along with mono-use plastics on board tour boats.
The Scientific Committee is a technical body that will engage in the development and revision of Friend of the Sea’s dolphin and whale watching standards. The group sends comments and votes on the content of the standards. In addition, each member can offer inputs and suggestions on strategic decision for the development of the certification standard and comparable projects.