The Foundation for Environmental Education and the World Cetacean Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, recognising their work and respective fields of expertise.
It is one of the most easily recognised eco-labels in the world. The Blue Flag programme is probably best known for its certification of beaches. Seeing a that a beach is awarded Blue Flag status brings the knowledge the area has met stringent criteria for water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and monitoring, safety and services. But what many may not realise is that the Blue Flag, operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) has been expanding its award to include marinas and sustainable boating tour operators. The latter includes whale and dolphin watching operators. In doing this over the last four years Blue Flag has been working with various stakeholders that have an important role in the world of eco-tourism boats.
As the world’s largest Partnership working to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises and with our whale watch partners in particular bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience, the WCA quickly became an important partner for the establishment of criteria to award the Blue Flag to cetacean watching eco-tourism boats.
Blue Flags new award for whale and dolphin watching boats will be a complementary scheme to the WCAs Whale Heritage Site initiative which looks to provide accreditation for the best global destinations for whale and dolphin watching. The Blue Flag award will help regions to reach these goals.
Through signing this Memorandum of Understanding, both organisations will continue to work together to further this work and achieve sustainability within the cetacean-watching industry, and ultimately to protect and conserve cetaceans and their habitats.
“We applauded Blue Flag’s recent move to begin awarding sustainable boating tour operators in their activities, including whale watching, diving, fishing, and other wildlife experiences. Now, through our partners, we are pleased to be able to advise on the whale watching aspect of this excellent and rigorous accreditation” says Dylan Walker, World Cetacean Alliance CEO, “We are also very grateful for all of the help and advice that we have received from Blue Flag for our Whale Heritage Sites initiative. I see great opportunities ahead for the WCA and Blue Flag as we continue to collaborate to ensure that coastal and marine tourism adopts a sustainable approach to championing marine wildlife!”
“It is with great pride that we partner with the World Cetacean Alliance, as they share our vision about responsible whale and dolphin watching. In a world where cetacean watching tourism is growing, it could become a pressure on the populations. It is very important to encourage sustainability, education and safety through these activities. I see many synergies between our two organisations and I know that this collaboration will be an important one for Blue Flag, but also for the Foundation for Environmental Education’s other programmes”, says Sophie Bachet Granados, International Blue Flag Director.