The current issue:
Goa is home to the endangered Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin (Sousa Plumbea). The presence of this species in Goa's coastal waters , has led to the organic growth of a dolphin watching industry, with almost 400 operators conducting trips in Goan beaches. A study conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature - India, supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature - India stated that during observation surveys, dolphins were observed displaying signs of stress around the tour boats, including avoidance behaviour and changing path of travel. The tour boats were found to be often chasing and surrounding the dolphins in an attempt to show a 'guaranteed' sighting to the tourists on - board. The root cause of the issue is lack of awareness and capacity building, and lack of enforcement of rules and guidelines by the concerned authorities.
Our aim is to regulate dolphin in Goa through a training on ethical guidelines and a code of good conduct to boat operators. This will have less negative impacts on the dolphin and its habitat as well as bringing a positive socio-economic impact on the local communities. These operators will learn and assimilate several facts such as:
- Leaving a respectful distance between the boat and the dolphins
- Switching off the motors
- Stop doing some specific stressful approaches: path cutting, harassing, touching dolphins, chasing and circling them.
- They will learn about dolphin biology, behaviour and conservation and pass this knowledge to tourists, who will then be more sensitized about responsible wildlife tourism and use this knowledge for their next trips.
Example of stressful boat approaches (left) and sustainable approaches (right)
Video on the previous work done by Terra Conscious for responsible dolphin watching:
Funds are needed for the first implementation of the project:
- Workshops for boat operators in Goa. The aim of the workshop is to sensitize them about responsible dolphin tourism practices, and let them know that if they wish to go further in the learning process, a label will be granted to them
- Workshops with the travel agents, hotels and the government officials of Goa to sensitize them about responsible dolphin tourism and the needs of the local communities and the dolphins.
- Logistics for Terra Conscious to manage the project.
- Funds for the creation of a legal framework about sustainable marine wildlife tourism that will be distributed in each state of India and be used as a base for guidelines regarding marine wildlife tourism.
- Funds will be also used to help a marine biology master student to do her study on the socio-economic side of dolphin watching in Goa
As a donor, you will regularly receive news on the progress of the project
If the amount of donations goes beyond the expected budget, the rest will be used to do more workshops and to implement the label in other areas in India
Cover photo credits: Terra Conscious
To know more about the subject:
Contact project leader Ivan Martin: [email redacted]
Website Terra Conscious: https://www.terraconscious.com
Article in eco club.com : https://ecoclub.com/headlines/interviews/all-interviews/1249-190216-ivan-martin
Article (French) in antispeciste.ch : https://www.antispeciste.ch/conservation-dauphins-inde
The Terra Conscious team, and Ivan (on the right) in Goa.
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