How to become a WHS

Here’s how you can become a Whale Heritage Site!

1. GET STARTED: Organisations and individuals at the site commit to forming a Steering Committee to take the site through the accreditation process (ask for our advisory document on forming Steering Committees).

2. INITIAL APPLICATION FORM: The Steering Committee submits an initial application form for the site online.

3. HOW TO RAISE FUNDS: Assuming the initial application is approved, the Steering Committee must pay a fee to be designated as a Candidate Whale Heritage Site. Developing countries, and countries in transition, must pay a threshold fee of US$750 to qualify. Developed countries must pay a threshold fee of US$3,000 to qualify. Countries are defined as either ‘Developing’, ‘Transition’ or ‘Developed’ by the World Economic Situation and Prospects for the United Nations. These fees are required annually and include all costs of accreditation and ongoing assessment, including becoming a fully accredited site. The only exception is one on-site visit required before submission of the final application (see 4).

4. WCA PARTNERS FEES CAN BE INCLUDED! Steering Committee members that are WCA Partners can count their WCA membership fees towards the threshold payment. For example, if WCA Partner ‘Whale Conservation Trust’ already pays a US$200 annual membership fee, the Steering Committee now only needs to find US$550 to meet the threshold for a ‘Developing’ country site of $750. Steering Committee members can also register to join the World Cetacean Alliance and contribute to the threshold that way.

5. If a Steering Committee member does not wish to join the World Cetacean Alliance or does not qualify, they can make a donation directly to the Whale Heritage Sites Fund as their contribution towards the threshold.

6. ON-SITE AUDIT: Before final accreditation an on-site audit will be required at additional cost. The WCA will make every effort to ensure that this cost is kept to a minimum.


5. ANNUAL FEES: Candidate and accredited Whale Heritage Sites must provide the annual payment threshold and provide regular feedback on progress to remain listed.

6. NON-PAYING COMMITTEE MEMBERS: People / organisations can join the Steering Committee without making a payment if the threshold has been reached and the Steering Committee agree.

7. BRAND USAGE: The Steering Committee sign a licensing agreement for using either the Candidate WHS logo or the accredited WHS logo. The Steering Committee can sub-license the logo to non-paying members of the Steering Committee and/or other stakeholders if it chooses to do so, either voluntarily or for a fee.

8. BENEFITS: Steering Committee members benefit from guidance, access to resources, technical expertise, fundraising support, networking opportunities, branding, and exposure. World Cetacean Alliance Partners worldwide are working to ensure that there are expanding benefits of joining the WCA and/or being listed as a Whale Heritage Site.

9. TRANSPARENCY: We are working to keep the fees for Whale Heritage Site accreditation as low as possible. All fees paid are used to administer the programme, provide advice and assist with fundraising, and promote the programme and the sites to new audiences.