Azores, PortugalApproved for candidacy, July 2016
Nantucket, USAApproved for candidacy, June 2016
Peninsula Valdes, ArgentinaApproved for candidacy, June 2016
Hervey Bay, AustraliaCandidate Site since July 2016
North Vancouver Island, CanadaCandidate Site. On-site audit completed August 2016
Port Stephens, AustraliaApproved for candidacy, May 2016
First two Whale Heritage Sites currently being audited
We are delighted to announce that, since opening the Whale Heritage Site Candidacy Application process on 4th April 2016, two sites have already entered the auditing process as Candidate Whale Heritage Sites, with a further four sites approved for candidacy. The Whale Heritage Site Independent Review Panel will meet in October 2016 to review the first applications for full accreditation.
Candidate Site: North Vancouver Island, Canada
The Vancouver Island North area includes the traditional territory of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, whose connection to the Max’inux or killer whale can be traced back through generations, not only through art, song and dance, but also through the verbal history of the Max’inux clan, whose ancestors are said to have descended from killer whales. Northern Vancouver Island is the habitat of eight species of cetacean and is a global trendsetter for whale research, responsible whale watching and conservation.
Candidate Site: Hervey Bay, Australia
Commonly referred to as Australia’s premier whale watching site, Hervey Bay is an internationally significant whale new-born calf nursery – where whales prepare their young for the long migration back to Antarctic waters. In celebration of the whale season, the Hervey Bay community plays host to the annual Oceans Festival which includes an illumination parade, a paddle out for whales and a seafood festival.
Approved for candidacy: Port Stephens, Australia
Port Stephens and its unique bay and pristine coastal waters and volcanic islands is just two and a half hours’ drive north of Sydney. Known as the Dolphin Capital of Australia, licensed operators collaborate to provide high quality eco-cruises with the resident population of around 90 bottlenose dolphins inside the bay and hundreds of common dolphins just offshore.
Approved for candidacy: Peninsula Valdes, Argentina
Peninsula Valdes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site designated for its unique attributes as a marine mammal breeding and calving ground, especially for the once endangered southern right whale. The six companies operating in Puerto Piramides exemplify community-based management of this cetacean population, demonstrating respect for the cetaceans and each other in day to day operations while striving to improve the sustainability of the site. Local rules and regulations help ensure the best possible practices and that the whale watching companies are operated by local, rather than foreign entities.
Approved for candidacy: Nantucket, USA
“Nantucket! Take out your map and look at it. See what a real corner of the world it occupies…. Look at it – a mere hillock, and elbow of sand; all beach, without a background. Two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer’s. For the sea is his; he owns it, as Emperors own empires… the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and
From the pages of Moby-Dick, thru a world renowned 21st century Whaling Museum, appendage to the historic whale oil Candle Factory (1847), Nantucket’s whaling history, culture and global impact are expressed in a depth unique to this elbow of sand. Listed as one of the top 10 Islands in the world to visit (National Geographic), Nantucket, beneath its stylish skin boasts over 800 pre-1860 homes, most coupled to whaling — the bones of this historic place. On this mere hillock our internationally acclaimed Museums, responsible Whale Watching and Nantucket Marine Mammal Conservation Program, author of Nantucket’s campaign to become a World Whale Heritage Site, all play a role in bringing current understanding of Cetacea (whales and dolphins) to over 100,000 visitors and our local schools annually. Teaching and learning of the threats
these leviathan face today from Ocean noise, pollution, ship strike, climate change, entanglement, prey food declines & contemporary whaling, is a community collaboration.
Approved for candidacy: Azores, Portugal
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Azorean people developed the whaling industry, which turned to be important for the economy and culture of the islands. The Azores are one of the places in the world where tradition and whaling culture persists with pride. Although, hunting whales has been forbidden since 1984, much of the whaling heritage has been maintained and restored for cultural, but also sporty purposes, like the tradition of the rowing and sailing regattas in whaler boats. In the Azores, with skill and art (literature, sculptures, films, Scrimshaw, etc.), the values and memories of whaling have been cultivated, celebrated and explained in several museums scattered throughout the islands (for example, the Whaling Museum, Whaling Industry Museum, in Pico, the Whaling Station Museum in Faial, The Boqueirão Whaling Museum in Flores, among others). In addition, with several regional festivals, such as “Semana do Mar”/ ”Sea Week” (in Faial Island) and “Semana dos Baleeiros”/ ”Whalers Week” (in Pico Island), Azoreans and those who visit us, celebrate the relation between the people and the sea and the marine animals that inhabit it, particularly cetaceans. The Azores is one of the premier whale and dolphin watching sites in the world. In recent years there was a great development of the whale watching industry. The ease of finding whales and dolphins in these parts was accompanied by the development of dynamic tour operators and respectful of animal life. The legal framework defines a code of conduct and ethics followed by the operators supporting a sustainable whale watching industry. The relationship between Azoreans and cetaceans has been the subject of many films and documentaries since the 1950’s, for example by the BBC and National Geographic Society networks.
Become a Whale Heritage Site
If you represent or work within a destination which you believe to be a great candidate Whale Heritage Site, please go to the Whale Heritage Sites website where initial applications can be made. The first step is a short, simple survey which is easily completed online. Your survey responses will be reviewed by the WHS Steering Committee and you will be advised whether your destination is eligible to become a candidate Whale Heritage Site and start the process towards Site accreditation.
Help travellers from all around the world identify where they should go to see whales, dolphins and porpoises swimming wild and free and embraced by the communities around them.