WCA and World Animal Protection are excited to announce that Franja Marina Teno-Rasca in South Tenerife is now a candidate Whale Heritage Site (WHS). This means that they are one important step closer to joining a very exclusive and growing list of locations, as a world cs responsible whale and dolphin watching destination and Europe’s first and leading Whale Heritage Site. 

World Animal Protection is playing a pivotal role in this partnership by providing financial and technical support to enable the Whale Heritage Sites programme.

“As an animal welfare organisation, establishing a WHS site in a mainstream destination like Tenerife will allow us to show the way forward for the travel industry and the only way tourists should be experiencing these marine mammals”, mentioned Nick Stewart, Global Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection.

There are certain criteria that candidate destinations must meet to qualify for this global accreditation, recognising their responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching. These include:

  • Encouraging Respectful Human-Cetacean Coexistence
  • Celebrating Cetaceans
  • Environmental, Social and Economic Sustainability
  • Research, education and awareness

Franja Marina Teno-Rasca has a decades long tradition of whale-watching, thanks to the 28 species of cetacean that inhabit its pristine waters throughout the year, including a resident population of the fascinating short-finned pilot whale. It is therefore unsurprising that whale and dolphin watching is the second-most popular activity for tourists visiting the island, generating an estimated €42 million revenue annually from 1.4 million tourists (data from Cabildo de Tenerife).

The importance of this industry to the local area is reflected in the local and national regulatory frameworks, which provide formal protection of the marine ecosystem in two ways: there are two Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and a strong legislative framework protecting cetaceans.

This WHS initiative in Tenerife has been driven by ACEST (Association of Cetaceans South of Tenerife), an association of several whale watching tour operator companies, which promotes good practices and works closely with research groups. Their objective is to promote the responsible use of the ocean and ensure the protection and conservation of marine resources.

Becoming a Whale Heritage Site will ensure that visitors to Franja Marina Teno-Rasca will be assured that they are investing in a destination that celebrates its natural history and shares a sense of connection between local residents and cetaceans. The vision and purpose of a WHS is that businesses, academics, and NGOs all work in partnership with local residents and government to safeguard this relationship.

It is clear that Franja Marina Teno-Rasca, Tenerife has the potential to become a world-class responsible whale and dolphin watching destination.

“We have no doubt that the WHS scheme will bring prosperity to the community and be an example of the successful partnership of conservation and the tourism industry. Visitors to the island and travel companies alike will be able to confidently choose whale and dolphin watching excursions in Tenerife safe in the knowledge that they will be experiencing wildlife in the most responsible way possible”, mentioned Elizabeth Cuevas, Whale Heritage Sites Manager at WCA.

Click here if you would like to find out more. (link to the report: “Franja Marina Teno-Rasca: Exploring the potential for Europe’s first Whale Heritage Site in Tenerife”)

(All photos Courtesy of Dylan Walker)