SA hailed as whale summit begins
SOUTH AFRICA is a “world leader” when it comes to responsible whale watching.
So says chief executive of the World Cetacean Alliance, Dylan Walker, who arrived in Durban this week, with marine scientists and researchers, tourism operators and non-profit organisation representatives from around the world for the first World Whale Conference to be held in Africa, which began yesterday and will run until Thursday.
Speaking to Independent Media, Walker said: “South Africa is recognised as one of the world’s responsible whale- watching destinations. It’s a world leader, and in terms of regulation and legislation, it is second to none.
“Durban and KwaZuluNatal are expanding their whale tourism and it is well managed. There are many places where legislation with regard to whale watching is not being followed or it just doesn’t exist,” said Walker, adding that whale tourism was estimated to be worth $2.1 billion (R27bn).
The conference will also include the Whale Heritage Site Summit, which will look at case studies of pos- sible sites around the world and identify a list of potential sites in Africa.
David Schofield, who is with the US National Marine Fisheries, was expected to deliver a presentation at the conference. He said the conference provided a better understanding of global issues in the industry.
Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said: “Whale-targeted tourism is one of the big contributors to the economy, especially in the coastal provinces.”
He said South Africa had responsible whale and dolphin protocols.
Dylan Walker, chief executive of the World Cetacean Alliance, back, with Patricia Sullivan, director of the Cetacean Society International, and David Schofield, marine mammal health and response programme co-ordinator, US National Marine Fisheries Service in Durban, yesterday.