How Much Does it Cost to be Certified?

Developing and Transitioning Countries

Developed Countries 

Covid-19 Pandemic

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are offering the candidacy for free for successful applicants. Fees will only be applied to sites once they become fully certified Whale Heritage Sites, and we will not apply this fee until 1st October at the earliest. Candidate sites applying to become a Whale Heritage Site before 1st October can remain candidates for up to three years for free. Certified Whale Heritage Sites pay an annual membership fee of US$3,000 in developed world countries, or US$750 in developing world countries. 

To assist sites in meeting the costs of certification, the membership fees of WCA partners and WCA certified whale watching operators based inside a Whale Heritage Site count towards the annual fee required for WHS certification. This enables organisations, individuals, and businesses to cover the costs of the WHS designation and benefit from participating in the world’s largest marine conservation partnership – the World Cetacean Alliance – two benefits for the price of one!

An on-site audit fee must be paid once in the first three-year period of certification, and then once every three years afterward. Audit fees are in addition to the annual certification fee but can be covered by WCA partner membership fees within the Whale Heritage Site, if they are sufficient. The WCA will make every effort to ensure this cost is kept to a minimum.


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.

Non-paying steering committee members

People/organisations can join the Steering Committee without making a payment if the threshold has been reached and the Steering Committee agree.


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