Breaching humpback whale

Support responsible whale watching

Whales are still a long way from being saved, with the activities of rogue whaling nations such as Iceland and Japan continuing to persecute and exploit the creatures.

Hunting for profit isn’t the only hazard – whales and dolphins also face a rising number of existential threats such as the impacts of climate change and marine plastic pollution. And although the acceptability of aquaria displaying whales and dolphins is on the wane around the world, such places remain popular tourist attractions and are often supplied with wild-caught cetaceans. Fortunately, your tourism dollars can be a significant factor in helping to persuade the governments of whaling nations that these magnificent creatures are worth far more alive than dead.

Responsible whale watching

There’s little as breathtaking as seeing whales in their natural environment and no better place in which to appreciate the sheer, quiet grandeur of them.

Although vested interests in Iceland and Japan insist on their countries’ ‘traditions’ of whaling and their right to continue doing so, traditions come and go as human society evolves. Commercial whaling in both countries exists only because of the degree of financial subsidy – whether state or private – it receives.

But ethical, harmless whale watching is steadily on the rise in each, offering local communities an alternative, non-lethal source of revenue related to them. When you visit countries which actively carry out whaling, you can help convince their respective governments of the good sense in banning whaling and instead putting their support into whale watching by doing so yourself.

Quite apart from contributing to the financial growth of whale watching and helping to make the case for it being a rational alternative to slaughtering the creatures for the personal enrichment of the few, seeing a whale up close in the wild is an experience you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life!

Don’t visit marine parks with cetacean attractions

The 2013 documentary Blackfish made a huge impact on the international public perception of orcas and other species such as dolphins and beluga whales in captivity – but public attention moves on and the aquaria remain.

Yes, the spectacle of orcas leaping out of a pool and crashing back in a torrent of water is an amazing spectacle – but if you’re paying to see it you’re helping to perpetuate an industry based on captivity and taking whales and dolphins from their natural environments.

So when you’re next on vacation, please don’t be tempted to support these commercial whale circuses – and perhaps even drop the management a line to let them know why you won’t be attending.