“100 measures” for a sustainable and responsible management of whale watching activities in Reunion Island

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Dolphin and whale watching is an activity that is developing rapidly, both in Reunion Island and around the world. This wonderful opportunity to discover the marine environment must be undertaken in a responsible manner. In Reunion Island, consultations between the stakeholders have been taking place over the last few years to enable this activity to continue in a way that respects the animals and the safety of people. Tools have been implemented to supervise the activity (a charter, prefectoral decree, “Quiétude” awareness team, a responsible whale watchers certification, conservation master plans, etc.).

“How can we move towards high-quality, responsible and sustainable whale watching in Reunion Island? “. This issue is at the heart of the Quiétude team’s mission, which began in 2017 as part of the implementation of the Compensatory Measure for the New Coastal Route financed by the Réunion Region council.

Today, the Quiétude team is disseminating the fruit of three years of reflection, research, discussions and exchanges with the different stakeholders involved in Whale watching. This work takes the form of a set of measures covering a wide range of themes which, according to the team, cannot be dealt with separately, and all contribute to the vast and ambitious objective: a responsible and sustainable whale watching industry in Reunion Island. Each measure is an important action to be implemented, in order to improve the Quietude of whales, dolphins but also sea turtles.

This reflection by the Quiétude team has particularly contributed to the drafting of the Conservation Master Plans (CMPs) for humpback whales and dolphins in Reunion Island. Indeed, it is part of the implementation of actions 2.2.4 and 2.1.3 of the Humpback Whale and Coastal Dolphin CMPs respectively, aiming to envisage the future of the activity and the ways to manage it.

These measures are not fixed in time! They are likely to evolve depending on whale-watching context, the stakes, the expectations and feedbacks from stakeholders. The Quiétude team will provide feedback to the relevant contacts within the framework of its mission. 

Reunion Island is a special place for whale watching activities, in particular for humpback whales coming now in large numbers off the west coast for breeding and calving during the austral winter between June and October. By taking ownership of, and expressing your views on the measures to be taken to manage this activity in a sustainable and responsible manner, you are playing an active role in the future of this wealth! 

Since they touch on a subject of society, the Quiétude team wishes to offer everyone: professionals, regular or occasional boaters, every Reunionese, the opportunity to express themselves on these proposals at any time. This is why they have now put all of the resources, materials and information online available for all!.

You can consultsupportcomment and follow the progress of all these measures (in French!) on the website http://cedtm-asso.org/quietude/mesure.

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