Whale watching plays a key role in raising public environmental awareness, provided that it is done in a responsible and sustainable way.
In many regions around the world, also in Dominica it has become an important economic factor, constituting a profitable source of income for local companies, since whale watchers typically also engage in other activities. The more this form of tourism gains in importance, the more our efforts to save the whales will meet with local acceptance.
Sperm whales are not the easiest of whales to watch, due to their long dive times and ability to travel long distances underwater. However, due to the distinctive look and large size of the whale, watching is increasingly popular. Sperm whale watchers often use hydrophones to listen to the clicks of the whales and locate them before they surface. Younger generations’ not knowing whaling eras seemingly became more and more curious towards human vessels.
Currently, entanglement in fishing nets and collisions with ships represent the greatest threats to the sperm whale population. Other threat includes ingestion of marine debris, ocean noise, and chemical pollution.
Only about 60 sperm whales are remaining in the Dominican waters. Beside the mentioned threats also other human activities like whale watching or “swim with the whales” programs are sources that can disturb the animals and encourage them leaving the Dominican waters to find more quite places.
As long as there are no rules for a sustainable and responsible interaction with these gentle giants.