The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) has released its list of the top 12 global whale-watching destinations considered perfect candidates to work with the WCA towards Whale Heritage Site accreditation.

The Whale Heritage Site accreditation scheme is a new initiative launched this year to recognise those worldwide destinations which champion responsible whale and dolphin watching and celebrate the cultural importance of the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) living in the waters around them.

Whale Heritage Site accreditation will be awarded to areas of the world considered to be centres of excellence and responsibility in taking care of and engaging with cetaceans. These destinations are already providing good frameworks for sustainable whale-watching. Many are also creating meaningful links between the whales and dolphins living in the seas around them and their communities and tourists through cultural events, exhibitions and festivals. The list is as follows:

Dominican Republic
El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
Hervey Bay, Australia
Kaikoura, New Zealand
Kingdom of Tonga
Massachusetts, USA
Outer Barrier Reef, Australia
Pacific Northwest, USA / Canada
Peninsula Valdez, Argentina
South Africa
The Azores Islands, Portugal

The World Cetacean Alliance is reaching out to all these destinations to invite them to work towards Whale Heritage Site status. One of the destinations on the list, The Azores Islands, are already fully engaged with the programme and are hosting the first Whale Heritage Site Summit on Faial, Azores between 28 – 29 October 2015 where the scheme will be shaped with input from global experts on marine conservation, whale watching operators, and tourist boards.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many, many other destinations with great whale-watching products which would be suited to Whale Heritage Site status. If your destination would like to find out more about becoming an accredited Whale Heritage Site, please contact Dylan Walker, Secretariat of the World Cetacean Alliance on +44 (0)1273 355011 or +44 (0) 7900 471490 or at

The World Cetacean Alliance is the world’s largest Partnership working to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans), representing 70 partners in 23 countries worldwide. Through cooperation, the WCA aims to conserve and protect cetaceans and their habitats in the world’s oceans, seas and rivers to ensure their continued health and survival. To find out more about the WCA, please visit our website at