Ethical Tourism is important.
We want to teach you about our whales and dolphins but also protect them for future generations, and the well being of the entire planet!
By reading our website it is probably obvious that we love whales and do everything we can to protect them. Sadly we are in a country that allows the hunting of whales, but we are fighting this and you will often see our crew at anti-whaling protests, and attending discussions given by Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace. Whilst viewing whales is better for both the whales, obviously, and the economy, it is important to be considerate and not change their behaviour in anyway, these whales are fighting climate change just by existing!
As the laws and guidelines in Iceland are somewhat lacking we abide by the laws set out by the Department of Conservation in New Zealand and the Australian Government, as they have some of the strictest laws in the world, essentially they are leading the game. One company in Iceland has put up code of conduct rules and many companies have signed up with them, unfortunately, unlike New Zealand we don’t have a government body making sure companies are living up to their word.
Here is a beautiful illustration of Ice whales Code of Conduct around whales. To learn more about Icewhale and what they are doing please visit their website.
You may think that because we keep our distance we don’t get super close to the whales, but the opposite is true. Whales and dolphins are extremely clever, they learn from experiences and can recognise individual boats. Years of being calm and respectful mean the creatures aren’t scared of us, and they come up to the boat rather than us approaching them. This means they have chosen to hang out with us! Tourism involving animals across the world varies greatly, but a good general rule to find out if it is ethical is:
Does the animal have a choice in whether you are close to it?
Can it leave at any time?
If the answer is no then don’t give your money to a company advertising it.
As well as that local group also follow the guidelines from New South Wales, you can read their full article here.
Ethical and responsible cetacean watching.
We salute Icewhale and especially their project in collaboration with IFAW in regards to promoting whale free restaurants. Sadly it is almost entirely tourists that eat our friends, and supporting whale-free restaurants, and telling the whale-serving restaurants why you chose not to eat in them is really important. We encourage you to go to their website and sign the petition to end whaling in Iceland permanently. It takes less than a minute and we appreciate it so much. We see these whales day after day, year after year and recognise individuals, our hearts stop when we see one cruelly killed just to satisfy the curiosity of tourists.
As well as this we have propeller guards on our yacht Amelia Rose. This is really important as marine mammals are often struck by the spinning propellers, especially from speed boats – they change direction too fast and the whales cannot avoid them.
Amelia Rose: Ethical Tourism means protecting our wildlife with guards on our propellers.
Another companies propellers; guardless they can be lethal to wild life
Even with the most careful driving cetaceans, especially slow moving whales can be accidentally hit by unguarded propellers. The worst offenders are speed boats as they change direction so fast the whales cannot predict them to avoid them.
We also use Amelia Rose and Axel Rose in preference as they are very streamlined, thus using less fuel and oil, so being more environmentally friendly. On the rare occasion we have fewer than 12 customers we may also change to Axel Rose from Amelia rose as it is better for the environment (but still a beautiful, luxury yacht.)
The Department of Conservation in New Zealand has incredible guidelines, simple but thorough and well thought out – please click here if you want to read them. They have made some brilliant, simple pamphlets for you to read too if you are a boater or live near the water. Read their full protection Act here.
If you are from the USA or want to see what their laws are like here is the link to the Marine Mammals Protection Act that Governs the United States of America.
You may think it is strange for us to spend so much time checking up on what other countries are doing but we have good reason to.
Firstly you, our lovely customers come from all over the world. We want you to learn from us, and take this information home with you, so we want it to be the best guidelines. Maybe one day you will be out on a private boat and find a pod of dolphins with calves. Your behaviour around them could be the difference between those calves surviving or not. For tips on how to spot whales and dolphins have a look here.
Secondly a lot of these marine mammals migrate vast distances, the humpbacks you see in the Gulf of Mexico for example aren’t just the same species, they are the same whales! They migrate there to breed, so as a global community we need to all be on the same page.