Whale Heritage Sites


Whale Heritage Sites are a global network of outstanding places where local communities celebrate, respect, and protect cetaceans and their habitats.



What are Whale Heritage Sites?

The Whale Heritage Site (WHS) programme is an initiative created by the World Cetacean Alliance, and currently run in partnership with World Animal Protection, to formally recognise and accredit destinations around the world that support and demonstrate the importance of cetaceans and their ocean habitats.

These sites empower and defend the right of local communities to care for and protect whales, dolphins and porpoises through a collaborative management partnership. They showcase an entire community and their relationship with the ocean by encouraging respectful human-cetacean coexistence – celebrating cetaceans in local culture, arts and events; supporting local economic and environmental sustainability; and developing locally based science, research and education.

WHS status is granted to places where people are able to work collaboratively within their communities to make and enforce decisions that will benefit cetaceans and their habitats in the long term.

For the travel industry, Whale Heritage Sites (WHSs) provide a clear marker to help identify and support sustainable practices and create a platform for communities to engage with marine culture, heritage and biodiversity.

For tourists, WHSs provide a transparent and easy way to select responsible whale and dolphin watching holiday destinations, encouraging them to experience these incredible animals in their natural habitat, in an authentic and responsible way.

“Whale Heritage Sites are becoming the gold standard for responsible whale watching destinations worldwide. But they also have so much more to offer. By interweaving natural and cultural elements and placing communities at their very heart, these sites will become places where people respect, celebrate and protect cetaceans and their habitats long into the future.”

Jean-Michel Cousteau

Honorary President, World Cetacean Alliance & Founder, Ocean Futures Society

Importance of Whale Heritage Sites

Discovery Sphere day

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Meet the Certified and Candidate Whale Heritage Sites