Raggy Charters is the oldest Marine-Eco Cruise company combined with a research project(s) in Africa. They provide people from all over the world with an educational experience designed to increase their awareness to the threats exposed to cetaceans. They hope that this education will give people the power to make their own contribution to the marine mammal conservation.
Every year Raggy Chaters visits various schools, universities, organisations and clubs to show them the spectacular wildlife which is on display in Algoa Bay. They also hold an annual whale festival which provide a fun environment in which the public can learn about the northerly migration of humpback whales and the effects of plastic pollution on marine life. The festivals also provide local artists, scientists and conservation initiatives to share their work publically.
Amongst the interesting and uncertain time of COVID-19 this year, Raggy Charters have managed to prioritise some conservation goals which usually would not be possible. An example of this is the increased threat of entanglement to cetaceans which comes with heightened anthropogenic activity. Along the South African coast, cetacean species are often entangled with fishing gear and shark nets which lie close to the swimming beaches. Throughout lockdown, these nets have been removed. This means there is one less obstacle for the whales to face during their migration. Raggy Charters are supporting the initiative that these nets are replaces with drumlines to reduce the chances of entanglement with cetacean species. The movement is still in it’s early stages, so please feel free to contact Raggy Charters directly if you wish to have more information on it!
“I wanted to be part of the world’s largest partnership of passionate individual working together to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises. The support, communication and information shared between members is invaluable” – Raggy Charters’ owner, Lloyd Edwards in regards to why he joined the WCA
Raggy Charters was elected as the African Representative on the Global Council of WCA in 2015, an achievement which the company is extremely proud of. When asked about whether Raggy Charters had any future plans they wanted to fulfil with the WCA, Lloyd responded:
“I would like to assist the WCA in achieving their goal of phasing out captivity of cetaceans around the globe and protect cetaceans that reside in all oceans and river systems. Being able to play a significant role in the protection of Cetacean species is something that I have always strived for.”
The company has been an integral part of multiple marine mammal conferences, notably those in the Azores and in Durban. In the latter, Lloyd recommended and helped to secure keynote speakers as well as suggesting a list of industry stakeholders to be notified of the conference. Furthermore, Lloyd freely supplied photos for both the local and international media to use in promoting whale watching in South Africa. He also made three presentations at the conference, including one on the conservation in Algoa Bay, as well as promoting the site to potentially become a Whale Heritage Site.
Raggy Charters recommend that anyone who is considering becoming a WCA member, to attend one of these conferences for themselves to experience first-hand the collaboration and sharing of ideas between members.