Our Challenge

The BIG issues

  1. Captivity compromises the welfare of over 2,900 cetaceans worldwide, and results in the capture of wild animals from populations threatened by other impacts. It needs to be phased out;

 

  1. Wild whale and dolphin watching represents the viable alternative with huge potential to deliver wider environmental benefits through local communities and visiting tourists. Thirteen million people take trips each year, but improvements in boat handling and education standards are desperately needed;

 

  1. Whale watching tourism is a $2.1 billion a year industry with the potential to drive sustainable practices at destinations. Sites with responsible tours, celebratory events, community-focused education initiatives, research and conservation, provide first class and immersive customer experiences that are respectful to cetaceans represent the gold standard. We call these locations Whale Heritage Sites.

The WCA believes in protecting both human and cetacean communities, and their environments, from the detrimental impacts of tourism (including compromising animal welfare and over-tourism). The WCA will campaign and advocate for change in these situations, particularly in places where there is evidence that tourism is having an impact on cetacean populations, especially isolated populations and threatened species.

 

The WCA has a unique and important role to play to ensure that tourism is a force for good, benefitting whales and dolphins and their habitats through sustainable practices. We plan to achieve this by developing projects and initiatives with tour operators that phase out captivity and encourage responsible whale and dolphin watching in the wild, ensuring whale watching tours meet best practice, and promoting destinations where entire communities respect cetaceans and drive forward responsible and sustainable solutions.

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