The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) is requesting initial applications from locations with a track record of scientific research on wild cetaceans as one of four required criteria for its Whale Heritage Sites initiative. Any interested person can register a site between now and 28 June 2017, when the criteria will be reviewed, and all applicant sites will be discussed at the Whale Heritage Sites Summit, Durban, South Africa (http://worldwhaleconference.org/programme/whs-summit-2017).
Whale Heritage Sites (WHS) are high sea or coastal marine areas, and less often freshwater rivers and lakes, where cetaceans live, and their associated land areas. WHS will be identified against criteria that interweave natural and cultural elements and acknowledge critical places that, for reasons of physical and social geography, are sites where people can coexist with cetaceans in an authentic and respectful way.
Whale Heritage Site status is granted to those places around the world where:
1. Cetaceans are celebrated through research, art, education, and cultural events
2. Sustainable practices and livelihoods are continually improved to ensure the health of cetacean habitats and the long-term economic health of human communities, and;
3. Respectful coexistence with cetaceans is supported through law, policy and cooperation.
Criteria for WHS focuses on how people celebrate, benefit from, and seek to conserve the cetaceans with which they coexist. Each WHS may find its own unique means, appropriate to its local context, including geography, culture, economics, and politics, to satisfy the criteria with the required rigour. In meeting WHS criteria, a candidate site must take into account information relating to the relevant local cetacean populations including their status, numbers, biology, habitat, behaviour, and welfare. Overarching the criteria is the premise that WHS sites will promote respectful positive coexistence with cetaceans.
To submit an initial online application to be considered for Whale Heritage Site candidacy click here: http://whaleheritagesites.org/application/
For further information about Whale Heritage Sites click here: http://whaleheritagesites.org/
We welcome your submissions.
Dylan Walker Chief Executive Officer
World Cetacean Alliance