SUSTAINABLE DOLPHIN WATCHING
Tourism has been adopted as a key sector for Goa’s development and dolphin tourism is a source of livelihood for some local communities and this activity has a very strong growth in Goa. However, dolphin tourism is not at its full potential in Goa, as there is no regulation for dolphin tourism, and most boat operators are not trained in how to approach the dolphins, or to give any information about the dolphins to the tourists. Dolphin watching tourism can be an educational and enriching experience when it is conducted safely and responsibly but when conducted in an irresponsible way, it can disturb the animals and place their health and welfare at risk. The aim of this project is to organize workshops to bring awareness on dolphin conservation and give general guidelines on sustainable dolphin tourism and specific training with operators leading to certification.
Problem: Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) are classed as being endangered by the IUCN. The results of a study on dolphin watching in North Goa conducted by WWF India in 2016 have shown that most boat operators would perform manoeuvres such as path-cutting, chasing or circling which are tremendously stressing for the dolphins. In addition, none of the surveyed boats gave information on the humpback dolphin species. The results of this study show that there is room for improvement for the dolphin watching industry in Goa.
The overall goal is to promote sustainable dolphin tourism and ensure it is implemented in North Goa. The project through its capacity building initiatives will provide opportunities for operators in Goa to have access to workshops where they will learn about sustainable and ethical marine tourism, the coastal environment and the species living in it, and how to attract a clientele interested in responsible tourism. Once the operations in North Goa are completed, the project can be expanded to South Goa and other regions in India where dolphin watching needs more regulations and monitoring.
Less noise pollution, no more stressing and chasing the animals, less gasoline used.
The tourists will experience a better quality of services with education about the wildlife and its environment provided by a trained guide.
Benefit for the operators:
By stopping chasing the dolphins, the operators will save fuel, which creates an economic benefit.
This project is also used as a tool to raise public awareness on sustainable tourism through public awareness events in India.
Funds are needed for the first implementation of the project:
Workshops for boat operators in Goa. The aim of the workshop is to sensitize them about responsible dolphin tourism practices and let them know that if they wish to go further in the learning process, a label will be granted to them
Workshops with the travel agents, hotels and the government officials of Goa to sensitize them about responsible dolphin tourism and the needs of the local communities and the dolphins.
Logistics for Terra Conscious, its employees and new hired staff/interns
Funds for the creation of a legal framework about sustainable marine wildlife tourism that will be distributed in each state of India and be used as a base for guidelines regarding marine wildlife tourism.