Tourism has potential costs and benefits. The challenge is to make
sure that the educational benefits outweigh the potential impacts
on the animals.
The effects of tourism on behaviour, movements and sound production
has been the focus of our research projects on sperm whales, dusky,
bottlenose and Hectors dolphins in the presence and absence
of boats and swimmers. All the populations we have studied show
clear effects of disturbance. In some cases these disturbances appear
to be minor. In other cases the effects are potentially serious.
Several of our studies have directly led to changes in management
of tourism. For example, the dusky dolphins at Kaikoura now have
a "time out" period during the middle of the day. There
is a time limit on how long tour boats can stay with Hector's dolphins
in Porpoise Bay, and there are plans for a marine mammal sanctuary
at Porpoise Bay. The Department of Conservation recently decided
not to grant more permits for watching sperm whales at Kaikoura
for at least the next 10 years. They are basing their decision partly
on research that we have just completed, and Trust researchers were
consulted for advice.
Publications and reports