The Impact of Whale Watching Tours on Cetaceans and Their Natural Habitat
With the rising popularity of whale watching tours, Arctic Sea Tours is aware of its possible impact on cetaceans and their natural environment. It, therefore, aims to minimize that impact.
As we have experienced many times, whales often are curious about our boats and can be absolutely playful around them. This means that the vessels are not a major threat to them, but, of course, there may be times that they are not ready for an encounter with us
Our experienced, trained guides and captains monitor the whales’ behavior closely and our boat is always ready to back up if a whale shows any signs of fear or distress. We must ensure that the whales feel safe around us now as well as in the future.
We also must ensure not to change their natural habitat in any way that could cause harm to them. We are seeking a deeper understanding of the consequences of our activities as well as of the increasing popularity of whale watching operations in general.
Our Contribution to Responsible and Sustainable Whale Watching in Iceland
Along with a group of other tour operators and some international experts, we are members of Icewhale, the Icelandic Whale Watching Association, a non-profit organization. Together, we have created and signed a code of conduct.
Based on the conclusions of the latest scientific studies, the code limits the number of vessels which can approach a whale and contains a list of instructions on how the search and approach can be done so that the animals are not disturbed or distracted.
The code ensures that the best possible practices are followed during whale watching tours, providing a fear-free environment for the animals and a great experience for visitors, who can rest assured that the whales’ welfare has been properly taken care of.
- We strictly follow these guidelines and approach wildlife with respect.
- We educate our staff as well as our guests about the importance of responsible whale watching to give them a better understanding of our behavior and approach at sea.
- We highlight the importance of protecting the natural environment in general.
- We contribute to research in order to learn more about the whales as well as our impact on them and their environment.
- We put effort into increasing the energy efficiency of our engines in order to minimize pollution and wildlife disturbance.
- We use traditional oak fishing boats which are very fuel efficient.
- Our rhib boat has diesel inboards which are built with fuel efficiency in mind. We choose inboards because they last longer than outboards.
- We strive to use environmentally friendly products for maintenance and repairs.
- We avoid the use of single-use products as much as possible, using reusable and recyclable products instead.
- We collect all hazardous and toxic waste – such as oil, paint, and used batteries – and turn them in at the officially assigned collection sites.
Our mission statement is “Nature is the adventure”. Iceland’s wilderness will remain unspoiled as long as we are not the ones to spoil it.
Our four guiding principles are:
- Take nothing but pictures.
- Kill nothing but time.
- Leave nothing but footprints.
- Make nothing but memories.