From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1995:

The Australian Nature Conservation
Agency on September 18 recommended
restricting whale-watching in breeding areas,
accrediting tour operators, and forming a
code of ethics for whale-based tourism. The
Australian whale-watching industry grew
13% from 1991 to 1994, as more than
500,000 people spent up to $70 million a year
to see whales. Protecting whales from whalewatchers
became a public issue on June 2,
1994, when Andrew Curven of New South
Wales was photographed standing on the back
of a right whale. On September 1, Curven
was fined $500 (Australian currency). He
faced a maximum penalty of two years in jail
and a fine of $100,000 for allegedly violating
the 1974 National Parks and Wildlife Act––
aimed at industrial polluters, not individuals.

Studying swim-with-dolphins
cruises off New Zealand, Auckland
University researchers Scott Baker and
Rochelle Constan report that 32% of bottlenose
dolphins and 52% of common dolphins
change their behavior when the boats
approach. Of the bottlenose dolphins, whose
average pod numbered 14 members, 23%
approached to bowride the boats’ wakes; 4%
dived to avoid the boats. Of the common dolphins,
whose average pod numbered anywhere
from 30 to 100 members, 43%
approached to bowride; diving to avoid the
boats was not observed. The boats saw 179
pods of dolphins in 156 trips over a year’s
time, including 123 pods of bottlenoses and
56 pods of commons, with an 86% success
rate in finding dolphins, and a 37% success
rate in attempting swims with dolphins,
including 41% success with bottlenoses and
23% success with commons.
Whale-watching procedures in
Canada are under review after the September
5 exposure deaths of Sharon Kava, Bradley
Humphrey, Mike Moe, and Dan Moe, all of
Laramie, Wyoming, after a bowhead whale
upset their boat 36 miles north of Clyde River
on the east coast of Baffin Island. Well within
the Arctic Circle, the four were protected
only by lifejackets. Their guide, wearing a
survival suit, swam ashore and got help.
Survival suits are essential to withstand long
immersion in any Canadian whale habitat,
but ANIMAL PEOPLE learned a few weeks
earlier in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that only
some small-boat whale watching fleets make
use mandatory. Others provide just buoyant
raincoats, such as are worn by fishing crews.
Sydney Holt, science advisor to
the International Fund for Animal
Welfare, expects a whale-watching boom in
the western Mediterranean, where the presence
of a resident group of about 4,000 fin
whales––the second-largest species––was
confirmed last May.
Brazil has published proposed
regulations to govern whale-watching, closely
resembling those in effect in the U.S

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