Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive!

Vol. VII No. 1 January 1998

CSI Error Concerning New Zealand Dolphin Tours

by William Rossiter, CSI President

CSI must correct an error in the "Whale Watching World Wide" article in the October newsletter. A number of experts in New Zealand commented that our reporting "as many as 14 new operators may be permitted in the Whangarei area alone" was wrong. The Whangarei area had only two permitted boats, although a third may be granted as you read this. CSI's error actually was beneficial. Although not an excuse, our original source was mistaken; we now have many that are accurate. We are told that many committees of officials, scientists, and local citizens are addressing the problems that exist with New Zealand dolphin-based tours.

However, political pressures on the Department of Conservation push for excessive but profitable permit approvals in some areas in spite of scientific opinions urging caution. The numbers of passengers and length of some tours are increasing. Some commercial operators dolphin-watch without permits, and get away with it unless they advertise that they intend to watch the dolphins. The general public in thousands of private boats are always potential problems. Enforcement and definition of laws needs much improvement. Although one of the reasons given for the refusal to permit captures of dolphins for display at Napier's Marineland, New Zealand's only such facility, is that the public has excellent opportunities to see wild cetaceans in so many places, what the public "takes home" from these tours is an open question. The fact is that New Zealand offers incredible opportunities to witness the magic and majesty of dolphins and whales in the wild.

Go to next article: Announcing the "Ultimate" Iceland Whale Watching Odyssey or: Table of Contents.

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