Towards responsible tourism for cetaceans

Key Goals

  1. WHS applicants and candidate sites showcased
  2. WHS criteria and process improved
  3. Tentative list of WHS identified for Africa
  4. Help and advice for prospective sites


Wednesday 28 June

Welcome to the 2nd Whale Heritage Sites Summit!

Conference auditorium

8.30 – 9.00. Registration / reception

9.00 – 10.00 Introducing WHS and icebreaker

10.00 – 10.30 Keynote speaker: Peter Lynch, Blue Dolphin Marine Tours, Hervey Bay, Australia

Representing both Blue Dolphin Marine Tours and Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, Peter will discuss why Hervey Bay became a candidate Whale Heritage Site in 2016 and is currently working towards full accreditation. Commonly referred to as Australia’s premier whale watching site, Hervey Bay is an internationally significant whale new-born calf nursery – where whales prepare their young for the long migration back to Antarctic waters. In celebration of the whale season, the Hervey Bay community plays host to the annual Oceans Festival which includes an illumination parade, a paddle out for whales and a seafood festival.


10.30 – 11.00 Break

11.00 – 13.00 Sites, experiences, and progress

Chair: Dylan Walker, CEO, World Cetacean Alliance


Presentation session: Interested parties, initial applicants, and candidate sites reveal what makes them special


11.00 – 11.20 Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique – Diana Rocha, Dolphin Encountours

The Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine  Reserve (PPMR), Mozambique, was gazetted in  14 July 2009 (Decree 42/2009). The Reserve  has  a total area of 678 km2,  and was proclaimed with the objective of  “preserving  and protecting  marine and coastal species and their  habitats”. These include vegetated    dunes (amongst the highest in the world!), sandy beaches, sub-tidal rocky  reefs with extensive coral communities, tidal flats, mangroves and  seagrass beds. Iconic  species in the reserve include marine turtles  (4 species  of which 2 nest in the  reserve),  dolphins, whales, the rare  and  endangered dugong, the whale shark  and a  diverse and interesting reef  fauna. The amount of operators swimming and visiting the dolphins is two for Ponta do Ouro (originally only supposed to be one) and one for Malongane and Mamoli, with only one boat per operator. The area is still on the UNESCO nomination list for world heritage site status, which combined with accreditation as a Whale Heritage Site, would be a huge environmental WIN that, if awarded would contradict the proposed Techobanine Port development.


11.20 – 11.40 Durban, South Africa – Rachel Kramer, Whale Time

Whale Time is a special time of year on the East Coast of South Africa when we are privileged to observe some of the whale species that frequent the KwaZulu-Natal coast. In particular, the humpback whales migrate close inshore along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal en-route between their summer Antarctic feeding grounds and the northern coastal waters of
Mozambique, Tanzania Kenya and Madagascar, where they give birth to their calves. Previously decimated by whaling, protection measures have resulted in a strong recovery of these whales which can be seen as early as May and through to December. The peaks of the northwards and southward migrations are in July-August and October-November

The Whale Time project aims to involve, engage and educate a wide range of people about whales and the marine environment, as well as to promote ethical and sustainable community-based tourism centred around this iconic species. The WhaleTime project’s objectives are to be a lead provider in quality public awareness information around whales and related marine conservation topics and facilitate KZN in meeting criteria to become a Whale Heritage Site.


11.40 – 12.00 Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Lloyd Edwards, Raggy Charters

Port Elizabeth is a hidden gem in South Africa for whale watching, and other wildlife viewing. With seasonal visits from Southern right whales, humpback whales, and indo-pacific humpback dolphins. We have the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world right on our doorstep. As well as our other resident species including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, bryde’s whales, Cape gannets and more. All year round we at Raggy Charters can offer guests some great wildlife viewing experiences in our secret and undisturbed bay.


12.00 – 12.20 Nantucket Island, USA – Tobias Glidden

“Nantucket! Take out your map and look at it. See what a real corner of the world it occupies: how it stands there, away off shore… a mere hillock, and elbow of sand, all beach without a background.” So, Melville penned in 1851, (Moby-Dick, chapter 14, Nantucket). The Nantucket Historic District encompasses the entire island of Nantucket, Massachusetts and the adjoining islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget. At over 30,000 acres, these islands comprise the largest conventional National Historic Landmark District by area, in the contiguous United States. They are surrounded by sound and sea, harboring some of the finest ocean biodiversity on the planet. The center of the nineteenth-century whaling industry — when whale oil, historically one of the most valued liquids known to humankind, drove a global economy — Nantucket remains a uniquely preserved New England seaport. From the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, Nantucketers connected the world, on the backs of the leviathan they exploited.

Today, human / cetacean interactions are more ubiquitous — many good, but many threatening the animals humanity has grown fond of. Under this reality, Nantucket’s global reach is focused on whale protection, education and outreach, and on supporting responsible whale watching. As a Whale Heritage Site, Nantucket will perpetuate in full circle the legacy of our history, culture and economy wrought from whale killing, exchanging these for contemporary goals. In building financial, logistical, legal and political support, we will ensure cetaceans are conserved for future generations as part of a sustainable blue / green economy.


12.20 – 12.40 Simon’s Town, South Africa – Jon Monsoon, AfriOceans (TBC)

AfriOceans Conservation Alliance (AfriOceans) was founded in 2003. It is a registered non-profit organisation, governed by a highly respected board of directors, an advisory board, as well as project specific consultants. AfriOceans is well known for its unique campaign work, exciting research projects and education and awareness initiatives, and its role in being prepared to speak out for those who cannot. We have achieved considerable success during a very short space of time and considered leaders of shark conservation in South Africa. In this presentation Jon will detail why Simon’s Town, Cape Town could qualify as a Whale Heritage Site.


12.40 – 13.00 Praia do Forte, Brazil – Luena Fernandes, Humpback Whale Institute

The HWI team believes that working with the local communities, tourists and public opinion, strengthens the struggle for marine conservation. Although the natural history of cetaceans is still largely unknown, the efforts carried out by HWI throughout over two decades have yielded amazing results. Through technical and scientific information, community interaction and taking part in public policy discussions, the efforts for marine conservation are becoming ever more effective, especially regarding humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and estuarine dolphins (Sotalia guianensis). HWI believe that Praia do Forte has the potential to become a WHS, and will present an update on their 2015 presentation on the topic.


13.00 – 14.00 Lunch Break


14.00 – 16.00 Workshop – WHS in Africa

Presentation.Graham Drucker, Whale Heritage Sites Programme Secretariat, takes a look at the results of our ‘Mapping tentative sites across Africa’ survey with some revealing insights.


Workshop session:

  • Is the WHS criteria appropriate in an African context?
  • Identifying areas for improvement
  • Whale Heritage Fund launch!


16.00 – 16.30 Break


16.30 – 17.15 Case Study Candidate Site: Vancouver Island North, Canada

1) Why they applied?

2) How they have benefitted

3) What does the future hold?

4) How we quantify their success

5) How it will affect their visitor economy

6) Tangible benefits for cetaceans


17.15 – 17.30 Summit plenary



Towards responsible tourism for cetaceans

Thursday 29 June


8.30 – 9.00. Reception

Conference auditorium

Moving forward and providing advice

Chair: Dylan Walker, CEO, World Cetacean Alliance


9.00 – 9.45 Keynote speaker: David Schofield, Regional Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator
NOAA IRC, Hawaii –
Managing a diversity of perceptions of marine mammals in Hawaii

An overview of stakeholder involvement in marine mammal conservation, tourism, and cultural diversity in Hawaii


9.45 – 10.30 Focus on indigenous communities


10.30 – 11.00 Break


11.00 – 13.00 Workshop – improving WHS

Workshop activities will focus on information gathered through a feedback process with candidate sites, accredited sites, initial applicants, and the WHS management committees. Should places that only meet some of the criteria for Whale Heritage Sites still be able to apply for an appropriate designation (for example, as responsible whale watching sites)? Should WHS be broken down into sites of regional, as well as global significance? How might Whale Heritage Trails fit into the Whale Heritage Sites programme? This session will take a look at the opportunities to expand the WHS programme to include communities linked to cetaceans across the world, and discuss how we might use the initiative to further protect cetaceans and associated communities that rely on the sea.

Workshop discussion points will include:

  • Criteria review
  • Flexibility of the candidacy process
  • Marine (natural) vs terrestrial (cultural) sites


13.00 – 14.00 Lunch Break


14.00 – 16.00 Plenary

  • Help and advice
  • Best practice and cross-pollination concepts
  • Audit process and training update

16.00 – 16.30 Break


16.30 – 17.15 Bid presentations for the 2019 World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit

Bids will be presented from Praia do Forte, Brazil, and Hervey Bay, Australia, to host the next WWC and WHSS.


17.15 – 17.30 Closing remarks


Evening: Awards Dinner and Whale Heritage Sites Fund fundraiser!