New Rules For Whale Watching In Reunion Island!
In the recent years, Reunion Island has witnessed a rapid growth of the whale watching activities, following an increase of the humpback whales’ presence in the area for reproduction, notably in very close proximity to the coast.
In light of this rapid development, a legal framework became necessary to support the approach charter existing since 2009, which was until then applied on a voluntary basis. As a result, in 2019 the first prefectoral decree regulating whale-watching activities in Reunion Island was enforced, in accordance to the approach and observation rules stipulated in the charter.
This year 2020, at the start of the whale-watching season in July, the decree has been revised and amended adding more restrictive measures, including:
- The implementation of a resting period for the cetaceans (6pm to 9am);
- A professional diving guide required for the swim-with activity.
This certainly represents a step forward towards more respectful and less impacting practices. However, the certified diving guides are not, to date, specifically trained for the observation and approach of cetaceans in Reunion Island.
The “Quietude team” of Centre D’Etude Et De Découverte Des Tortues Marines (CEDTM) works to promote the good practices stipulated by the charter and the decree among whale-watchers, to support the coherent evolution of these tools according to needs, and to evaluate the level of compliance for these rules.
Although following a steady pace, a trend towards a more sustainable practice in Reunion Island is ongoing!
For more information on WCA Partner Centre D’Etude Et De Découverte Des Tortues Marines (CEDTM), visit their website HERE.