Cetaceans significance in Tenerife

The Atlantic Whale Foundation (AWF) has run a volunteer programme on the key whale watching boats in Tenerife for some 25 years. It also runs the Whale and Dolphin Visitor Centre in Puerto Colon. In collaboration with the whale watching boats and the broader tourism industry, the AWF carries out extensive research, education and conservation programmes. All the boats comply with the AWFs code of conduct in terms of respect for the whales, customer safety and experience, and community involvement. The Atlantic Ocean Cetacean Network is supported from the AWFs hub in Tenerife.

As an organisation they continuously strive to promote best practice in whale watching. With up to one million European tourists whale watching in Tenerife every year there is no better place to ‘raise awareness and inspire action’ on cetacean conservation than in Tenerife.

Motivation to be a WHS

Whale Heritage Site status would be a massive boost to the efforts already in place. The following outlines the code the boats working with the AWF adhere to:

Key elements of Responsible Nature Tourism providers:

Respect for Nature visited and its Environment. Research shows quite clearly the dramatic improvement in the whale watching experience (for the whales) after the introduction of regulations. The research shows, further, that the Blue Flag whale watching boats continue to abide by the regulations.

Respect for Tourists. In terms of quality of the whale watching experience, their health and safety, the knowledge afforded them etc. Tenerife’s whale watching industry is an example of ‘best practice’ for the world in this respect. With legal boats and the attention to the customer experience – their health and safety, the training and quality of staff is second to none.

Contribution to the Local Community. In Tenerife, most crew on the whale watching boats are drawn from the old fishing community; the boats have provided a means for them to continue working on the sea. This is something which the industry should be immensely proud of. Additionally, many of the boats the AWF work with provide highly subsidised access for local children. AWF volunteers on the whale watching boats reach out to a global community.

Contribution to Research, Conservation, and Education. The whale watching industry in Tenerife contributes to conservation through the work of the volunteers on the boats raising awareness of conservation issues and conducting research.

Lead Applicant: