Sustainable Marine Tourism

This program will address the importance of maintaining a sustainable boat-based marine wildlife watching industry that has the conservation of marine mammals as it’s priority. By minimising disturbance impacts to cetaceans, and other marine species (currently not requiring permits to view e.g. Cape Fur Seals), the industry will be able to sustain the resource on which it is dependent. In addition, we will highlight the economic importance of this industry to small coastal towns, thereby raising the profile of the sector and its input to local economies.

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An improved and species-relevant set of permit regulations and code of conduct to ensure minimal disturbance to sensitive marine mammals that are targeted by the industry. We aim to determine what level of adherence there is within the industry to current regulations, and will propose enhanced strategies for reporting of transgressions. In the long term, and in line with the National Protected Area expansion programme, the information collected on the spatio-temporal use of areas by cetaceans will feed into a regional (South Africa and the South West Indian Ocean) assessment in 2019 of Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA’s) which falls under the Marine Mammal Protected Area Task Force of the IUCN. Nationally the information will be used to create spatial layers for Marine Spatial Planning in South Africa and to implement spatial and/or temporal closures to whale watching vessels.

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