What can be done to protect the future of our dolphins and whales?
The obvious answer is to be involved and Imagine Cruises of Nelson Bay in Port Stephens on the NSW Mid North Coast of Australia have done that at the local and international level.
At the local level Imagine Cruises have pushed for unity within the Port Stephens Commercial Dolphin Watch Association (PSCDWA) adopting a collective code of ethics to minimise the effect of dolphin watching and pushing for the licensing of the industry and sponsoring research aimed at a management plan for the waterways of the Port Stephens region.
Yves Papin, skipper on Imagine Cruises, with the help of Simon Allen and Michelle Lemon, from the Australian Government Department of Marine Biology at Macquarie University, produced a booklet for the Commercial Dolphin Watch Association of Port Stephens. The handbook was created to minimise the impact of interaction between dolphins and boats as well as to improve the level of understanding of cetaceans and interpretation of their behaviour for skippers.
Frank Future is a Director of the local peak body, Eco-Network and at the international level has pushed for the creation of a South Pacific whale sanctuary within the community of International Whaling Commission (IWC). Frank represents the interests of Australia’s commercial whale watching industry at the annual Conference of the IWC.
The protection and preservation of whales and dolphins is an important role for Imagine Cruises and to further that end they are actively involved in many organisations including:
PSCDWA: The Port Stephens Commercial Dolphin Watch Association is a forum of most dolphin watch boats in Nelson Bay. Its objective is to promote the welfare of local Port Stephens bottlenose dolphins .
DREAM: The Dolphin Research Education And Management program was put in place by the marine biology department of the Macquarie University in Sydney Australia with the financial support of the PSCDWA and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The four year studies were done to put in place a management plan for a safer future of bottlenose dolphins in the Nelson Bay Port Stephens area of the North Coast of NSW.
Eco-network: A forum and peak body representing the interests of a network of local Port Stephens and Nelson Bay Associations involved in environmental conservation issues.
WADWA: Whale and Dolphin Watch Australia is a national association of Australian commercial whale and dolphin watchers whose aim is to promote the welfare of dolphins and whales at a local and international level. It was formed to enable the whale watching industry from Australia, New Zealand and Brazil to be represented at the International Whale Commission for the 1st time in 2003 at Berlin Germany.
IACW: The International Association of Commercial Whale Watchers.
IWC: The International Whale Commission has the purpose to provide for the conservation of whales and regulate and govern the conduct of whaling throughout the world. A different country hosts the Commission annual conference each year: 2004 Italy, 2003 Japan, 2002 London, 2001 Samoa …
Whaling industry representatives world wide meet every year to decide on quotas and to discuss the future of whaling. Greenpeace has helped to facilitate the creation of an Australian national association of professional whale watchers to be represented at the IWC and are actively campaigning with other organisations and associations for a well needed whale sanctuary in the South Pacific.
IFAW: The International Federation For Animal Welfare has also been campaigning for the creation of a South Pacific whale sanctuary.
ORRCA: A volunteer group focused on marine mammal rescue and research, and helping to care for whales, dolphins, seals and dugongs in Australian waters.