More whales, more vigilance
For the seventh consecutive year and thanks to the support of Opequimar Centro Marino, the Program for the Prevention, Information, Monitoring and Surveillance of Humpback Whales was carried out in Bahía de Banderas. This season we did not have funds for this program, but it was possible to make 7 trips thanks to the donations of Katie Lavery, Virginia Espino, Vallarta Natours and Ecotours of Mexico, as well as the continuous support of Frank Mc Cann and of course to the collaboration from the direction of the National Park Islas Marietas of the CONANP regarding the coordination of outings during the season.
Just as other years, it was observed that 48% of the boats carrying out the whale watching activity did not have the corresponding authorization. This represents a big issue because those boats are the ones that incur in more faults. They are observed making sudden maneuvers in the vicinity of whales and harassing them, many are even recurrent, so that indicates that they are apparently performing an illegal tourism service.
Another recurring problem this year were the jet skis. Many were observing whales far from the coast, putting at risk their lives and that of their companions, often underage. They would be bothering the whales through presence and sound, which has a sound wave frequency that alters the whales. That’s’ one of the reasons why it is prohibited by the Mexican Standard 131.
On the positive side, many vessels already recognize our work and inform us about those boats that are violating the rules. We also noticed that vessels tend to properly operate when we are out there. As our beloved Bahía de Banderas grows population wise, the problem changes, that is why it is necessary to continue with this program, ensuring that the bay continues to be a safe and an appropriate area for the breeding and reproduction season of the whales.
Below, we share the rough numbers of what we request to our donors, what we were able to collect and what was spent. The variation is due to the price and amount of fuel for the outings.