This month has provided us with another step towards sustainable cetacean based tourism in Mozambique with a new paper published from Rocha et al. The paper titled Moving towards a sustainable cetacean-based tourism industry – A case study from Mozambique, takes an in depth look at how cetacean-based tourism (CBT) affects the marine mammals’ behaviours and also analyses common practices of the tour companies, such as in-water swimming with the cetaceans. The paper also explores how CBT companies can be an effective means of promoting pro-environmental tourism if they receive training in certified conservation methods.
Lead author Diana Rocha is a member of the team and researcher for WCA partner and Certified Responsible Whale Watching Operator Dolphin Encountours Research Center, based in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique.
Cetacean-Based Tourism (CBT) is often confused with sustainable tourism. However, not every CBT operator has an environmental education component attached to its programme. In reality, CBT has the potential to negatively impact the animals it is targeting; thus management is required to mitigate any harmful effects from tourism activities. This paper analyses the attitudes and perceptions of the marine operators and tourists that partake in dolphin-swim activities in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve (PPMR) in Mozambique. Hand-out questionnaire surveys with closed and Likert scale type questions revealed that the tours are an effective means to promote pro-environmental behaviour and consequently increase compliance with the code of conduct. Nonetheless, in the PPMR, both tourists and operators presented only basic knowledge of the regulations of the reserve and of the dolphin, whale and whale shark code of conduct, indicating that there is a need for improvement. We provide recommendations for improving local management, which are also applicable at the national and international level. Overall, this paper provides knowledge and guidance for moving towards a sustainable based CBT industry in the PPMR.
The full paper can be accessed here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X19305767?dgcid=author