WORLD WHALE CONFERENCE 2017:

Towards responsible tourism for cetaceans

 

WCA Conference Key Goals:

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

  1. Agree a set of ‘Draft’ 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.

 

Monday 26 June

Plenary

Welcome to the 4th World Whale Conference

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

 

SYMPOSIUM 1: Responsible Whale & Dolphin Watching

Symposium 1 Morning Session

Global best practice for responsible whale and dolphin watching

 

Chair: Dylan Walker, WCA Secretariat, UK

  • Introduction: Global best practice and minimum standards – 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 best practice and minimum standards
  • Plenary: Seeking endorsement for and recognition of a draft ‘best practice and minimum standards’ for responsible whale and dolphin watching

 

Symposium 1 Afternoon Session

Global best practice for 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 In-water Encounters with Dolphins’

 

Case studies and best practice examples

  • Workshop: Exploring existing standards, new ideas, and seeking agreement for best practice and minimum standards
  • Plenary: Seeking endorsement for and recognition of a draft ‘best practice and minimum standards’ for in-water encounters with whales and dolphins

 

SYMPOSIUM 2: Collaboration

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

Symposium 2 Morning Session

Short talks: WCA Partners and other attendees discuss their initiatives

 

Symposium 2 Afternoon Session

Workshop

  • Review the WCA Partnership agreement
  • Expanding the partnership: whale watch associations and twinning programmes
  • Internship Programmes, training and monitoring – how to maximise benefits to the WCA Partnership

 

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.

 

Summary and Outputs

 

Tuesday 27 June

Plenary

Keynote speaker:  HappyWhale – an innovative citizen science project

 

SYMPOSIUM 3: Cetacean research

Workshop: Realising our research potential

Chair: Luena Fernandes, Humpback Whale Institute, Brazil

This symposium will explore the use of whale watching and NGO platforms to conduct dedicated research and citizen science projects that improve our understanding of and ability to protect cetaceans and their habitats, and ensure the long-term sustainability of commercial whale and dolphin watching.

Symposium 3 Morning Session

  • Opportunities to collaborate with citizen science platforms
  • Creating a shared WCA research database
  • Linking with research students and identifying research priorities
  • Accessing the WCA research database

 

Symposium 3 Afternoon Session

Workshop: Studies on the impacts of cetacean tourism

Short presentations

Plenary: A strategic plan for long-term monitoring

 

Symposium 4: Captivity and Sanctuary

Symposium 4 Morning Session

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

Chair: Daniel Turner, Born Free Foundation, UK

This symposium will discuss and compare existing standards for the welfare of cetaceans currently held in captivity, seek expert advice from attendees, and work towards a draft agreement for Global Minimum Standards. Once agreed, attendees will seek endorsement from the international community, in order to encourage effective implementation. Attendees will also share success stories and discuss effective campaigning and advocacy strategies. Finally, the symposium will provide an update on progress being made towards the creation of Seaside Sanctuaries for cetaceans.

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

 

Symposium 4 Afternoon Session

Advocacy, campaigning, and Seaside Sanctuaries

  • Regional Updates: Effective campaigns and advocacy (case studies)
  • Educational materials: Current information and gaps
  • Plenary discussion – what next for the WCA Captivity Working Group?

 

Seaside Sanctuaries

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

 

Conference plenary

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

 

Speakers:

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

Further speakers will be announced shortly