Friend of the Sea Certifies First Scientific Research Group

Associazione Me.Ri.S. Mediterraneo Ricerca e Sviluppo earns certification for sustainable dolphin and whale watching.

For the time ever, Friend of the Sea, the leading global certification standard for products and services that respect and protect the marine environment, has certified a scientific research group: Associazione Me.Ri.S. Mediterraneo Ricerca e Sviluppo (Me.Ri.S.). Me.Ri.S. is a non-profit organization for the protection of marine mammals and their environment. Friend of the Sea has certified Me.Ri.S. in the category of sustainable dolphin and whale watching for scientific groups, which covers the group’s educational activities and training programs. The original standard for dolphin and whale watching has been modified and adapted to allow universities, NGOs and scientific groups to be officially certified and deemed sustainable.

We are thrilled to be working with Me.Ri.S.,” said Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. “We see them as a sister organization, committed to environmental sustainability just as we are. We hope this will be the first of many such collaborations with universities and research groups.”

The Friend of the Sea Dolphin and Whale Watching standard has the goal of minimizing unintentional disturbance to dolphins and whales, along with their respective habitats, through key principles of conduct. These include setting a maximum number of vessels in the watching zone, moderating approach distance, conducting training programs for operators and crew and collecting scientific data. The standard also forbids swimming with the animals and using mono-use plastics.

The Associazione Me.Ri.S. Mediterraneo Ricerca e Sviluppo is based in Sicily. It promotes educational activities and scientific training through research expeditions, training courses, internships and university projects. They are engaged in ecotourism activities such as whale and dolphin watching. Their activities offer adults and children the opportunity to participate in the monitoring and sighting of cetaceans and other marine species.

Dr. Jessica Alessi, Founder and Director said: “The collaboration with Friend ofthe Sea is an added value for the activities carried out by Me.Ri.S., together we have created a certification specifically thought for the Scientific Research on cetaceans, conducted in a responsible and sustainable way. We at Me.Ri.S., believe that the well-being of dolphins comes first, with the sustainability standard of Friend of the Sea we can prove it to the participants to our activities.”