Friend of the Sea responsible dolphin and whale watching certification program expands worldwide
Public interest in viewing dolphins and whales in the wild has grown significantly over the last years. Besides being an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for many, dolphin and whale watching tours provide numerous benefits, including generation of income and provision of jobs. At the same time, the cetacean-focused trips should be undertaken responsibly, without negative impacts on the marine environment and animal populations.
For this reason, Friend of the Sea, the international non-profit organization working towards the conservation of the marine habitat, has developed a series of standards for sustainable dolphin and whale watching.
“The Friend of the Sea dolphin and whale watching certification allows tourists to identify those operators who carry out dolphin and whale watching activities respecting the environment and local dolphin and whale populations,” explains Paolo Bray, Founder and CEO of Friend of the Sea in the official video.
In order to avoid the risk of disturbing or hurting the animals, the certification requirements prohibit certain activities, such as swimming with dolphins or whales, or feeding them any sort of food. Furthermore, certified vessels must respect certain navigation speed and safe distance rules.
Numerous operators worldwide have already complied with the requirements. Among these are several whale watching operators in Sri Lanka and dolphin watching vessels in Sardinia, Italy. And the numbers are expected to grow in the next future.
“Dolphin and whale watching are at the forefront of the global eco-tourism,” says Mr. Bray. “Along with many operators who have already decided to operate in a responsible and sustainable way, numerous others have also shown their interest in the Friend of the Sea certification, including operators from Australia, South Africa, the UK and Portugal.”
Click here to watch the dolphin watching program video
Friend of the Sea
Friend of the Sea is an international certification program for products from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Over 500 companies in more than 50 countries have relied on Friend of the Sea to assess the sustainable origin of their seafood. Audits, based on the best and the most updated available scientific data, are run by accredited independent certification bodies. Recently the program has expanded to the certification of sustainable shipping, ornamental fish and whale watching operators.