WORLD WHALE CONFERENCE

Towards responsible tourism for cetaceans

 

Key Goals

The World Whale Conference will achieve three important goals for cetaceans in tourism:

  1. Agree a set of Global Standards that protect cetaceans in tourism by combining current best practice guidelines, advice from practitioners, and the latest scientific research into one resource.
  2. Create an International Advisory Committee for Cetaceans in Tourism (both in the wild and in captivity) to oversee the agreed Global Standards.
  3. Seek endorsement for both the Global Standards and Advisory Committee from national and international institutions, regulatory bodies, governments, NGOs, and the travel industry.

 

Speakers

Further speakers will be announced shortly

 

Natalie Barefoot, Cetacean Law, USA

Sophie Bachet Granados, Blue Flag eco-label, Denmark

Luena Fernandes, Humpback Whale Institute, Brazil

Jo Hendrickx, Global Spirit, UK

Hayley Lynagh, Global Spirit, UK

Roy Mulder, Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society, Canada

Ian Rowlands, Incredible Oceans and WhaleFest, UK (TBC)

Alexander Sanchez, Cetacean Rescue Technician, Spain (TBC)

David Schofield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric  Administration, USA

Jared Towers, North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association, Canada

Daniel Turner, Born Free Foundation, UK

Dr Ingrid Visser, Orca Research Trust / Free Morgan Foundation, New Zealand (TBC)

Dylan Walker, World Cetacean Alliance, UK

 

Monday 26 June – Tuesday 27 June

Welcome to the 4th World Whale Conference

Keynote speaker: Cetaceans in Southern Africa – a personal journey. TBA.

 

Responsible Whale Watching Symposium

Session 1: Global Minimum Standards (GMS): Responsible whale and dolphin watching

Chair: Dylan Walker, WCA Secretariat, UK

 

  • Introduction: Global Minimum Standards (GMS) – a tool to encourage positive change
  • Presentation session: Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of current guidelines
  • Workshop: Exploring existing guidelines, new ideas, and seeking agreement for a GMS
  • Plenary: Seeking endorsement for and recognition of a draft GMS for responsible whale watching

 

Session 2: Global Minimum Standards (GMS): In-water encounters with whales and dolphins

Chair: Angie Gullan, Dolphin Encountours, Mozambique

 

  • Presentation session:

Sophie Lewis, World Cetacean Alliance, summarizes the results of the new WCA report on ‘Best Practice for Swimming with Dolphins’

  • Introduction: Global Minimum Standards (GMS) – a tool to encourage positive change
  • Workshop: Exploring existing standards, new ideas, and seeking agreement for a GMS
  • Plenary: Seeking endorsement for and recognition of the GMS

 

Session 3: Developing partnerships for responsible whale watching

Chair: Dylan Walker, World Cetacean Alliance, UK

 

  • Workshop: Developing a mentoring programme / affiliate scheme
  • This workshop will explore how responsible whale watching companies with expertise and resources could partner with those that would benefit from this expertise or wider access to networks such as the WCA partnership. Part of this discussion will include the opportunity for whale watching tour operators to access a new WCA affiliate programme by linking to the WCA through an existing partner.

 

Session 4: Internships, training and monitoring

Chair: Cynde McInnis, Cape Ann Whale Watch, USA (TBC)

 

WCA trained volunteers working as marine naturalist guides have the potential to assist whale watch operator partners, assess and report on minimum standards, share best practices, and run coordinated campaigns. In this session we look at how to develop a programme that will provide staff support for whale watch tour operators and ensure that Global Minimum Standards are adhered to at all times.

 

Session 5: Onboard science – an essential tool for responsible whale watching

Chair: Luena Fernandes, Humpback Whale Institute, Brazil

 

This session will explore the use of whale watching platforms to conduct dedicated research and citizen science projects that improve our understanding of and ability to protect cetaceans and their habitats.

  • Presentation session
  • Workshop: Collaborative opportunities for conservation and education-directed research
  • Plenary

 

Captivity / Rehabilitation Symposium

Session 1: Global Minimum Welfare Standards (GMS) for Cetaceans in Captivity: A tool for change

Chair: Daniel Turner, Born Free Foundation, UK

 

  • Introduction: Global Minimum Standards (GMS) – why we need them?
  • Workshop: Exploring existing standards, new ideas, and seeking agreement for a GMS
  • Plenary discussion: Seeking endorsement for and recognition of the GMS

 

Session 2: A partnership for change

  • Presentations: Running effective campaigns (case studies)
  • Plenary discussion: Running effective campaigns
  • Workshop: Developing a mentoring programme / affiliate scheme
  • This workshop will explore how NGOs with captivity expertise and resources could partner with NGOs that would benefit from this expertise or wider access to networks such as the WCA partnership. Part of this discussion will include the opportunity for NGOs and individuals to access a new WCA affiliate programme by linking to the WCA through an existing partner.

 

Session 3: Seaside Sanctuaries

  • Update from experts involved in sanctuary development (retirement sites for captive cetaceans)
  • Plenary

 

Session 4: Rehabilitation and release

Chair: Dr Ingrid Visser, Orca Research Trust / Free Morgan Foundation, New Zealand (TBC)

  • Introduction: Global Minimum Standards (GMS)
  • Workshop: Exploring existing standards, new ideas, and seeking agreement for a GMS
  • Plenary: Seeking endorsement for and recognition of the GMS

 

Conference plenary

  • Summary and feedback from symposiums
  • AGM Summary and WCA elections