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Watching whales, dolphins and porpoises in the wild (in this chapter commonly referred to as whale watching) is a rapidly growing commercial industry that includes land, boat and aircraft-based activities (Hoyt, 2001). Unfortunately, management of this industry still ranges from complex and difficult to implement, to inadequate, or completely lacking despite commercial whale watching having been engaged in for over 50 years. Initially, little attention was paid to the potential impacts of commercial whale watching tours, most operators being pleased to take tourists to see whales in the wide and offer an alternative to the commercial whale hunts that were destroying great whale stocks throughout many of the worlds’ oceans. With whale hunting as a basis for comparison, whale watching was never really considered an activity likely to cause harassment or disturbance to wild cetaceans. However, whale watching tourism targets specific communities of animals that are repeatedly sought out for prolonged, close-up encounters. Since the early 1990s, concerns over the potential for detrimental consequences to targeted animals have been raised (e.g. IWC, 1996; Samuels et al., 2003; Corkeron, 2004). Repeated disruptions of breeding, social feeding and resting behaviour have long been speculated to result in deleterious effects on reproductive success, health, ranging patterns and availability of preferred habitat. Emergent research has now revealed that dolphin watching can cause biologically significant impacts on targeted communities, notably by displacing dolphins from critical habitats and reducing their reproductive success (Lusseau, 2005; Bejder, 2005; Bejder et al., 2006a).
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... Precaution calls for tourism on vulnerable, small, isolated, threatened, or resident populations, or in priority habitats, to be minimized or avoided (Constantine and Bejder, 2008;Ross et al., 2011;Johnston, 2014). This is best achieved by confining operations to populations able to sustain tourism pressure (International Whaling Commission, 2006) and by prohibiting tourism in certain areas or times (i.e., temporal and/or spatial closures) (Tyne et al., 2014). ...
... Maintaining a precautionary approach may require managers to be resolute in the face of demands from industry and the public, and this is why precaution is more effective when formulated as a legal obligation within policy frameworks, planning, and management tools (e.g., the MMPR in New Zealand). It is also important that the burden of proof rests with the proponents of the activity (Bejder et al., 2006b;Constantine and Bejder, 2008) and that regulations are clear, unequivocal, and effectively enforced (Constantine and Baker, 1997;Childerhouse and Baxter, 2010;Lundquist, 2014;Peters and Stockin, 2016). Under some circumstances, voluntary guidelines can provide an effective first step in management (Schaffar et al., 2010) or complement official regulations to further reduce tourism pressure . ...
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Cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand is now over 30 years old and has experienced substantial growth in visitor numbers and operations. The industry is remarkably diverse, targeting several dolphin and whale species, and encompassing varied habitats in coastal waters, fiords and submarine canyons. The knowledge and experience collected over these past 30 years has both advanced the global understanding of cetacean tourism, and influenced scientific practices for its study and management. Here we review the approaches taken in quantifying the impact of cetacean tourism in New Zealand, and critically assess the efficacy of the research and management strategies adopted. We place particular focus on the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf, Kaikoura, Akaroa and Fiordland, areas that include the oldest, and longest studied industries nationally. We propose a set of best research practices, expose the most notable knowledge gaps and identify emerging research questions. Drawing on perspectives from the natural and social sciences, we outline the key determinants of failure and success in protecting cetacean populations from the detrimental impact of tourism. We suggest four golden rules for future management efforts: (1) acknowledge cetacean tourism as a sub-lethal anthropogenic stressor to be managed with precaution, (2) apply integrated and adaptive site- and species-specific approaches, (3) fully conceptualize tourism within its broader social and ecological contexts, and (4) establish authentic collaborations and engagement with the local community. Lastly, we forecast upcoming challenges and opportunities for research and management of this industry in the context of global climate change. Despite New Zealand's early establishment of precautionary legislation and advanced tourism research and management approaches, we detected flaws in current schemes, and emphasize the need for more adaptive and comprehensive strategies. Cetacean tourism remains an ongoing challenge in New Zealand and globally.
... Impacts on animal life include the possibility of injury, distress, disruption of natural behaviors and breeding partners, pollution or the destruction of habitats ( Newsome et al., 2004;Constantine and Bejder, 2007). Moscardo and Saltzer (2004) found a relation between tourists watching rare and exotic wildlife from close proximity with an increase in their learning about the animals and their behavior, and as well contributing to the visitors' satisfaction. ...
... These actions also carry additional negative impacts for the ecosystem. When animals find the natural course of life disrupted and become used to the presence of humans, Constantine and Bejder (2007) observed a disturbance in reproductive success. ...
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There were few previsions to strongly expand the growth of scuba diving activity, and nowadays training standards are enforced for safety and also for respecting the natural space where dive tourism takes place. Based on literature review, environmental impacts were noted in terms of providing positive aspects, mainly represented by economic benefits and employment opportunities. The negative side was revealed by wildlife impacts whereby animals change their behavior due harassment or contact with nature-based users, with authors reporting their concerns and measuring the consequences and long-term learning impacts. The over-usage of the reefs can result in physical devastation and chemical contamination. Land development in support of scuba diving can also cause negative impacts and affect the surrounding infrastructure, with alternating living patterns and by creating economic differences among the local society. When dive techniques are mastered, scuba diving itself does not represent a threat to the environment, neither to marine animals, but bad dive practices, poor buoyancy control associated to the lack of awareness can contribute to damage the benthic zone. Divers physical impact on the reef can benefit some species looking for opportunity to feed or compete for space, although, it destroys the habitat and lifting up sediment affect negatively coral structures by inducing stress and reducing the average amount of light.
... There have been repeated calls for a paradigm shift from the benign nature of whale watching to the possibility of unsustainability (e.g., Constantine and Bejder 2007), but little effort has been made worldwide to define sustainable levels of whalewatching. This is in striking contrast to research and management efforts associated with other activities affecting marine mammal populations in similar manner, through disturbances and habitat deterioration, such as oil and gas exploration and naval exercises (Pirotta et al. 2018). ...
Chapter
Tourism and recreational activities now threaten the conservationConservation status of 21% of the marine mammalMarine mammals species recognized by the IUCN. In the past two decades, concerted efforts have been made to better understand the biological relevance of behavioral responses of marine mammals to whale-watchingWhale watchingdisturbanceDisturbance within theoretical frameworks. These frameworks aim to evaluate how behavioral changes caused by disturbance may result in populationPopulation effects by affecting critical life functionsLife functions, such as survivalSurvival, reproductionReproductionand feedingFeeding. Most recent efforts have made it more feasible to quantify how consequences of a disturbance can affect vital ratesVital rates and, in turn, populationPopulation level consequences. These efforts have come hand-in-hand with the advent of innovative researchResearchtechnologyTechnology and analytical laboratory approaches which are providing previously unobtainable data streams, including detailed information on individualIndividualbody conditionBody condition, energy expenditureEnergy expenditureand energy acquisitionEnergy acquisition. Novel techniques in the fields of metabolomicsMetabolomicsand endocrinologyEndocrinology are providing tools to integrate the many dimensions of disturbance-related changes in the body to derive measures of ecological healthEcological health. Lastly, new modeling techniques are now available that link changes in behavior to changes in healthHealth, vital ratesVital ratesand populationPopulationdynamicsPopulation dynamics. Our chapter discusses various managementManagement approaches to the industry and highlights that it was only in 2020 that the promising concept of maximum sustainable tourismTourismyieldMaximum Sustainable Tourism Yield (MSTY) (MSTY) was explicitly stated as a management value to track when regulating and managing whale watching. The recent advances in analytical and laboratory approaches coupled with introduction of the MSTY concept provide promising pathways to both evaluate biological significant impacts of whale-watchingWhale watching and new managementManagement approaches. We argue that it is important to consider the outlook for marine mammalMarine mammalstourismTourism moving forward, with an understanding of the recent and perhaps current global tourismGlobal tourism context; i.e., the industry was paralyzed by the imposition of unprecedented border closures and travel restrictions caused by the COVID-pandemic. The focus now falls upon the potential to rebuild a new, post-COVID-19 tourismTourism system. One school of thought in rebuilding arises in response to growing concerns expressed about the global tourismGlobal tourism system prior to the pandemic. Concerns include high economic leakageEconomic leakage, environmental sustainabilityEnvironmental sustainability issues, and compromised social license driven by over-tourismOver-tourism. There is a unique opportunity to reset the tourismTourism system toward an emerging nature tourismNature tourism paradigm that encourages and supports businesses to be accountable for positive environmental, social, culturalCultural and economic outcomes. It will be necessary for marine mammal tourismTourism to embrace a paradigmatic shift from exhaustive (volume growth) to regenerative tourismTourism which, rather than depleting the natureNature upon which businesses depend, will be geared toward building natural capital over time. This will require a reconceptualization of visitor experiences, which may be augmented through new technologiesTechnology. Virtual realityVirtual Reality (VR)(VR) and augmented realityAugmented Reality (AR) (AR) are powerful tools that allow people to achieve immersive experiences of nature without the need for travel. VR/AR offer the industry opportunities to engage groups that may be constrained by physical or age-related disabilities, as well as those who may be facing travel restrictions, or confronting moral decisions associated with carbon emissionsCarbon emissions, or direct/indirect impacts arising from tourist encounters with wildWild animals. VR/AR may overcome the conundrum for close encounters with wildlife without having to expose animals repeatedly to close encounters with people. We argue that there is a pathway to move forward with a less biological impactive whale watch industry in light of the more-informed science basis available coupled with new low-impact marine mammalMarine mammalstourismTourism opportunities. But will the marine mammal tourismTourism industry continue to be fueled by a ‘business-as-usual’ approach which is based on economic prosperity? Or will the industry follow a more progressive all-encompassing approach that embraces and supports tourismTourism to be accountable for positive environmental, social, and culturalCultural, as well as economic outcomes? We argue: be creative, be bold, and be progressive.
... Swimming activities with whales are still prohibited in most countries where whale-watching occurs [5] and the scientific community has urged the need for a more precautious approach to the management of commercial tourism operations [10][11][12]. There is widespread concern amongst the scientific community (e.g., [13][14][15][16][17][18][19]), that swim-with-cetaceans tourism can disrupt vital behaviours and cause avoidance responses in the targeted cetaceans. ...
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Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga, is a well-established whale-watching destination in the South Pacific. Between July and October, the waters around the archipelago represent one of the most important breeding grounds for Oceania humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). The Tongan government allows tourist swimming activities with whales and tour operators strongly promote the practice of swimming-with-whales, focusing primarily on mother-calf pairs. However, there is increasing evidence, derived from empirical research on swim-with-cetacean tourism, that this kind of interaction affects cetacean behaviour and can lead to negative effects on the cetaceans involved. This study represents the first assessment of humpback whales' behavioural responses to vessel and swimmer approaches in Vava'u. Fifty-six surveys took place during the 2016 and 2017 whale breeding seasons aboard dedicated research and tour vessels. Whale dive time, number of reorientation events, and respiration rates were documented in both the absence and presence of boats and swimmers. Vessel approach type, swimmer placement, and whale avoidance responses were also recorded. Results indicate that the average diving time and the proportion of time spent diving in the presence of swimming activities increased significantly for mother-calf pairs (F2,36 = 18.183, P < 0.001; F2,36 = 5.462, P = 0.009, respectively). Moreover, avoidance responses of whales towards tour vessels were observed for one third of vessel approaches (33.5%) and the avoidance rate was significantly affected by the boat approach type (95% CI: 20.7-69.2%, z = 3.50, P < 0.001). Finally, low levels of compliance to the existing Tongan swim-with-whales regulations were documented, in particular the stipulated whale resting time between interactions with tour operator vessels and swimmers was often not respected (38.4%). Vava'u is an important calving ground for the Oceania humpback whale population and these findings should be carefully considered by stakeholders in Tonga and at other locations where swim-with-whales opportunities are being undertaken. Effective strategies to reduce the risk of detrimental effects on the whales targeted by swimming activities, especially mother-calf pairs, are needed.
... Finally, we conclude that marine protected areas can play an important role as suitable regulating institutions for WW and marine wildlife tourism (Constantine and Bejder, 2008). As state institutions, they would ideally be backed-up by a strong legal mandate, the knowledge and resources required to effectively monitor and enforce rules, and, under the most recent PA paradigm, would include local stakeholders in decision-making while excluding non-local resource users (Havard et al., 2015;Cudney-Bueno et al., 2009). ...
Article
Whale-watching (WW) has gained considerable importance for coastal communities as a potentially sustainable form of marine resource use. However, as a common-pool resource, marine wildlife runs the risk of being overexploited, which can lead to negative effects on both animal populations and economic sustainability. Therefore, careful management and use regulation by capable institutions are required. But any governance arrangements that seek to comply with these exigencies need to be accepted by both (local) stakeholders and resource users. To assure compliance with regulations, the former must be involved in decision-making about management issues and should also partake in the economic benefits of WW. These two factors are major drivers of positive attitudes towards conservation governance. This article analyzes the nexus between governance and the economic impact of WW in the case of the coastal lagoons in the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve (EVBR), Baja California, Mexico, a globally-renowned WW destination. The results of our research show that a government-led WW governance arrangement evolved over time in the EVBR to prevent overexploitation and restrict resource use by non-local operators, thus ensuring that mainly local service providers will profit from WW. Moreover, the Reserve's advisory board serves as a relatively effective negotiating platform that offers possibilities for participation by local stakeholders while also mitigating conflicts among actors that represent unequal powers. Therefore, these institutional arrangements are widely-accepted and supported by local actors who often rely on economic rationalism in their arguments. We calculated the economic impact of WW using an input-output model: ∼18,000 whale-watchers produce an annual regional economic impact of US-$0.7 million and generate 334 seasonal and 180 year-round jobs. The opportunity costs related to restrictions on resource use are adequately compensated, so the case of WW in the EVBR supports the general feasibility of the people-oriented protected area approach and the suitability of biosphere reserves as governing institutions for marine wildlife tourism.
... There was significant intra-individual repeatability in behavioral 1 3 2004; Piñeiro et al. 2012). Increased human encounters with wildlife may affect short-and long-term animal behaviors (Gabrielsen and Smith 1995;Green and Higginbottom 2001;Williams et al. 2006) and physiological responses (Knight and Cole 1995) as well as result in habitat abandonment (Lusseau and Bejder 2007) and reduced reproductive success (Bejder 2005;Constantine and Bejder 2008). ...
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Despite many positive benefits of ecotourism, increased human encounters with wildlife may have detrimental effects on wild animals. As charismatic megafauna, nesting and foraging sea turtles are increasingly the focus of ecotourism activities. The purpose of our study was to quantify the behavioral responses of immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) to disturbance by snorkelers, and to investigate whether turtles have individual-level responses to snorkeler disturbance. Using a standardized disturbance stimulus in the field, we recorded turtle behaviors pre- and post-disturbance by snorkelers. Ninety percent of turtles disturbed by snorkeler (n = 192) initiated their flights at distances of ≤3 m. Using principal component analysis, we identified two distinct turtle personality types, ‘bold’ and ‘timid’, based upon 145 encounters of 19 individually identified turtles and five disturbance response variables. There was significant intra-individual repeatability in behavioral responses to disturbance, but bolder turtles had more behavioral plasticity and less consistent responses than more timid individuals. Bolder individuals with reduced evasion responses might be at a higher risk of shark predation, while more timid turtles might have greater energetic consequences due to non-lethal predator effects and repeated snorkeler disturbance. Over the longer term, a turtle population with a mix of bold and timid individuals may promote more resilient populations. We recommend that snorkelers maintain >3 m distance from immature green turtles when snorkeling, and that ecotourism activities be temporally and spatially stratified. Further, turtle watching guidelines need to be communicated to both tour operators and independent snorkelers to reduce the disturbance of turtles.
... so, dolphins and whales (Constantine & Bejder, 2008). Over 56 types of marine mammals, representing 43% of their known species, have now become the focus of in-situ tourism activities in 120 countries (Walker & Hawkins, 2013). ...
Article
Interactive experiences with non-captive, charismatic, marine megafauna, such as whales and dolphins, present a growing ecotourism trend with potentially positive and negative sustainability outcomes. Its sustainable future in countries recently developing this type of tourism is dependent upon not only operational best practices and management, but also the extent to which such experiences contribute to positive change to pro-environmental awareness, attitudes and behaviours of both local guides and tourists. This paper presents a new guide training model that was developed from empirical research and has been utilised to train local guides in Tonga. The Guiding Model links tourists’ intentional post-experience behaviours with the guiding and interpretive elements of ecotourism activities using means-end analysis and a ladder of abstraction questioning process called the PIIA. The paper outlines the use of the model to develop the first nationally accredited swim-with-whale guide training programme in the South Pacific. Application of the training model is described and examined with respect to its capacity to underpin positive sustainability effects in the broader sense and upon tourists’ pro-environmental perceptions through the facilitation of the local guides’ awareness, reflection and appreciation of their role in achieving contemporary ecotourism goals, and linking these to their personal values.
Chapter
Few places on the planet rival Australia and New Zealand for their spirit of adventure. The diversity of landscapes ranging from desert to tropical forest in Australia, from beaches with penguins to glaciers in New Zealand, combined with their generally amenable climate, make excellent settings for exhilarating adventure activities on land, river and sea.
Chapter
Hector’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori hectori) are a small (~1.5 m long) marine dolphin, primarily inhabiting turbid, coastal waters discontinuously around the South Island of New Zealand. The Māui dolphin (C. h. maui) is a critically endangered subspecies of Hector’s dolphin, only found along a small part of their original range spanning the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Both subspecies have small alongshore home ranges of around 50 km, with high levels of site fidelity and low levels of gene flow. Despite this, some individuals have traveled distances of at least 400 km, interacting with local animals. Hector’s dolphins exhibit seasonal movements linked to prey availability and social aggregation behaviors associated with the summer mating and calving period. They typically occur in small groups of 2–10, with high levels of fission-fusion and low levels of association among individuals. Sex segregation occurs in small groups (<5 individuals) of Hector’s dolphins throughout the year, but this same pattern does not hold for larger groups. Mother-calf pairs are typically associated with other females, a common pattern for delphinids. Māui dolphins do not show the same pattern, with mixed-sex aggregations of dolphins independent of group size, perhaps an artifact of the extremely small population size. Hector’s dolphins largely communicate with ultrasonic clicks, with different vocalizations among social groups and during feeding. Their echolocation clicks are important when foraging in their preferred habitat of low visibility. They forage on a wide range of benthic and demersal fishes and squids, with most prey <10 cm long and some regional differences in species composition, but overall similarities in prey preferences. Despite their distribution around New Zealand and variation in local population sizes, Hector’s and Māui dolphins have broad similarities in behavior, association patterns, and habitat use. Where differences exist, the habitat, prey movements, and population size are potential explanatory factors. In New Zealand, a hot spot for cetacean diversity, these dolphins occupy a small and specific niche that is typical for Cephalorhynchus elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Because they occur close to shore in waters affected by humans, they are vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbance. But with recognition of dangers and appropriate protections, the species should flourish in New Zealand’s productive coastal waters.
Chapter
This chapter will consider the history of whale and dolphin watching as a tourism activity, based on visitors’ experiences. The analysis was based on 468 visitors’ comments on a familiar travel forum under the four categories developed in Ballantyne, Packer and Sutherland’s research in (Tourism Management 32(4):770–779, 2011b). These categories are sensory impressions, emotional affinity, reflective response, and behavioural response. The comments were analysed using a content analysis method. It was found that the behavioural response dimension reported by visitors was lower than the other experience dimensions. The study concluded with some suggestions for both business owners and wildlife tourism researchers.
Technical Report
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The behavior of humpback whales summering in southeastern Alaska was observed in the presence and absence of vessel traffic. During the first study year (1981), small and medium-sized vessels were directed to operate within 400 m of whales according to an experimental plan. The second study year (1982) concentrated on observations of generally greater than 400 m. Whales showed predictable behavior responses to vessels operating at distances of less than 4,000 m. Changes in whale behavior were correlated with the speed, size, distance, and numbers of vessels within the proximity.
Article
I investigated a suspected decline in Hawaiian humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Four Island area around Maui, Hawaii, from 1981 to 1986. Observations were made from commercial whalewatching boats during the peak of the winter breeding season. Relative encounter rates differed among the years studied, but there was no evidence of a decline in the relative rate of individual humpback, humpback pod, and calf encounters. A gradual increase in relative calf encounter rate was noted. Cows and calves may be deserting traditional resting areas near the Maui shore in favor of waters 3-4 km offshore.