Action PA1 Former les opérateurs commerciaux en RNN

Nautical Pros Learn The Rules Of Whale Watching

The Réserve Naturelle and the AGOA sanctuary were asked by the association Métimer to teach nautical professionals about current regulations concerning whale watching in our waters, as the zone is frequently used for reproduction by humpback whales and as a nursery for their calves. A bilingual presentation was organized by AGOA at the Yacht Club of Fort Louis Marina on December 5, in conjunction with Michel Vély, president of the Megaptera association, and Julien Chalifour, director of the scientific department at the Réserve Naturelle of Saint-Martin. Nautical professionals from both sides of the island learned that all species of marine mammals are protected, especially against intentional disturbance. This implies specific behavior while whale watching, which consists of observing these marine mammals from a boat out in the ocean. Only commercial companies that have done the training organized by AGOA (or one of their contractors) and who hold a specific scientific label are currently allowed to approach marine mammals, and no closer than at a distance of 100 meters. All others who have ocean-based activities— professionals without the label or amateur boaters–must respect a distance of more than 300 meters. This rule respects the tranquility of these large marine mammals, as well as their safety and that of passengers aboard the boats. Any disturbance could in fact provoke abnormal behavior and cause accidents, or at the least inflict unnecessary expenditures of energy for the mammals, which could threaten the success of their reproductive process. The respect of these rules guarantees continued observation of these animals, most notably the humpback whales, in the future in Saint Martin. After this conference, Métimer was asked to organize a new presentation to share this information with the publicat- large, for a wider understanding of proper whale-watching behavior.

All articles from: Newsletter-40

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