Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Whale-watching book questions industry sustainability

Whale-watching book questions industry sustainability worldwide


Friday 28 March 2014

Whale and dolphin-watching may not be the low-impact, sustainable industries many believe them to be, according to a new evidence-based book containing contributions from some 50 international experts.

Whale-watching: Sustainable Tourism and Ecological Management critically explores the complex issues associated with the sustainable management of whale watching, highlighting the spectacular growth in demand for tourist interactions with cetaceans in the wild, and the challenge of effective policy, planning and management.

Whale-watching is edited by New Zealand’s University of Otago Tourism Professor James Higham; Associate Professor Lars Bejder from Australia’s Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit; and Dr. Rob Williams, a Canadian marine conservation biologist and a Marie Curie Senior Research Fellow with the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

“The book centres on one key point of debate. Whale watching has developed very quickly around the world and has been strongly advocated by non-governmental organisations, governments and tourism development agencies, which highlight the assumed sustainability of ‘non-consumptive’ enterprises. This book really puts the spotlight on that,” says Professor Higham.

“The rationale is very appealing. If you don’t hunt and kill whales or dolphins, but shoot them with cameras rather than harpoons, then it may intuitively be considered non-consumptive. But as the industry has grown, animal populations have come under more and more pressure and the ‘non-consumptive’ nature of whale watching has been drawn into question.

“While whale watching has been widely portrayed as a sustainable alternative to whale hunting since the early 1980s, simply assuming that whale watching is sustainable obscures the potential unsustainable whale-watching practices.”

Associate Professor Bejder’s own research in Shark Bay, Western Australia, a popular site for people to view bottlenose dolphins, demonstrates that as the level of interaction increases, so too does the effect on the animals’ biology, habitat use and numbers.

“Whales and dolphins frequent certain ecological regions because they are good places to feed, or rest, or raise young,” says Associate Professor Bejder.

“Take the spinner dolphins of Hawai’i. They feed at night in offshore waters and go into shallow, protected bays to rest and socialise during the day – but that’s where and when tourists gather to watch them, potentially disturbing their critical daily resting period.”

Professor Higham adds: “The book highlights that, in considering the relationships that exist between humans and cetaceans, terms such as ‘exploitative’ and ‘consumptive’ must be used advisedly.

“The transition from physical extraction (hunting) to the selling of ‘services’ (tourist experiences) should acknowledge that both may be exploitative and consumptive in different ways and to varying degrees,” he says.

All three editors say that while the book critically explores the challenges of sustainability, it is a solutions-focussed book as well. Many of the book’s 25 chapters offer various ways of trying to overcome the potential for impact on these animals, taking account of different regional and national contexts, and employing insights from relatively successful models such as Shark Bay (Australia) and Kaikoura (New Zealand).

“For example, the book includes a chapter by Wiebke Finkler, a current University of Otago PhD student, who addresses science communication and the yawning gap that exists between the good science that has emerged about this in the last 30 years and the uptake of that science by management agencies, NGOs and tourism operators,” says Professor Higham.

The book came about following lengthy conversations between Professor Higham and Associate Professor Bejder at a conference in Perth in mid-2006. They agreed there was a real need to comprehensively address the subject of human interaction with whales and dolphins. The proposal to edit a book, bringing together contributions by international experts, moved quickly to contract.

“The publisher, Cambridge University Press, has been very supportive right from the start. But it’s a book that has taken several times longer to complete than any other I have worked on. It has been quite a minefield. This is a contentious and political subject,” says Professor Higham.
Whale-watching: Sustainable Tourism and Ecological Management is being published by Cambridge University Press in March 2014.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Catches Breath After "Goldilocks" Slump

The New Zealand dollar edged up following its dramatic slump yesterday after the Reserve Bank confirmed speculation it intervened in the currency market last month and PM John Key suggested a “Goldilocks” level far lower than at present. More>>

ALSO:

Biosecurity: Kiwifruit Claim To Hold Officials Accountable For Psa

Kiwifruit growers have joined forces to hold Biosecurity NZ accountable in the courts for its negligence in allowing 2010’s Psa outbreak that devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry and exports. Foundation claimants representing well ... More>>

ALSO:

Poison: Anglers Advised Not To Eat Trout In 1080 Areas

With the fishing season opening in just a few days (1 October 2014), anglers are being warned by the Department of Conservation(DOC) not to eat trout from pristine backcountry waters and their downstream catchments, where the department is conducting 1080 poisoning operations. More>>.

ALSO:

Quotas: MPI Swoop On Suspected Fraudulent Fishing Activity

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) compliance officers swooped on a Hawkes Bay fishing enterprise today to secure evidence in an investigation into suspected fraudulent activity... “The investigation involves activity throughout the commercial supply chain – catching, landing, processing and exporting.” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fonterra Slashes 2015 Milk Payout, Earnings Tumble 76%

Fonterra Cooperative Group cut its forecast 2015 milk price payout by about 12 percent, citing weaker global dairy prices and said there is a risk of further declines given strong global milk production. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news