JANUARY 2013 – ECOBAC FRIEND NEWSLETTERS
Dear friends and collaborators !!!
ECOBAC wishes you a very happy start to the year 2013.
Last month the official whale watching season began and with it, new opportunities for research and protection of these wonderful marine mammals were opened. Thanks to the support and projects that were carried out with the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), training workshops could be held in different regions of Mexico where the humpback whale arrives in winter for its season Of reproduction. It was also possible to launch two new campaigns for the care and conservation of whales.
Then they are sent a brief but concise report of what has been done to date and what is being done for the whales.
Biol. Astrid Frisch Jordán
PROGRAM OF PREVENTION INFORMATION AND MONITORING OF JOROBED WHALE IN BAHÍA DE BANDERAS
HUMPBACK WHALES IN BANDERAS BAY PREVENTION, INFORMATION AND MONITORING PROGRAM.
The main objective of this program is to make a tour of the bay in order to disseminate the NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010, which establishes the guidelines for whale watching, as well as encourage them to be complied with by boats tourism and private activities and avoid harassment of whales and encourage good whale season navigation practices.
Since the whale watching season began in December 2012, 5 departures have been made and at least 20 departures are planned during the season. This program is carried out thanks to the support of CONANP and FWS, of Opequimar Centro Marino, members of ECOBAC, as well as volunteers. In the tours we have also had the support of the 8th Naval Zone and we left with an officer of the navy on board, it is important to specify that without their presence there would be no success, in addition to giving respect, formality and presence to each route.
The departures were programmed mainly during the holiday period, mainly on weekends in order to obtain a greater reach. It is very important to point out that since last season and as it has been happening year after year, it has been observed that private or tourist boats without whale watching permits are the ones that mostly harass the whales, so our main objective is to inform and promote good navigation practices throughout the season.
During the tours, flyers are distributed with a brief bilingual summary of the official Mexican norm for whale watching, as well as brochures where good navigation practices are promoted and the presence of offspring is reported, which are more vulnerable to harassment of the boats. They are also invited to take care of the whales so they can continue returning to Bahía de Banderas.
In total, information has been distributed to more than 100 vessels, mostly private or tourist, without authorization. The response from the captains of boats has been good, we have achieved that during the observation of a group, the boats retire or keep the proper distance so as not to harass the group of whales, which have mostly been mothers with young and escort. In the case of vessels with permits, they are encouraged to comply with the norm in terms of distance and time, since boats have been found that take more than an hour with the same group, they are invited to go in search of new groups of whales that will offer you a different show.
Sometimes, the response is negative or they simply evade us and flee when they see that we are approaching to give them the information, but our presence at sea forces them to behave better.
NETWORK OF ATTENTION TO GLASS WHOLESALE
During the month of November 2012, we organized two training workshops with the aim of forming the National Network of Attention to Entangled Whales (RABEN Mexico); the first one was held in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco and was taught by David Mattila and Scott Landry of NOAA, International Whaling Commission and Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. These researchers are highly
trained and have enough experience to train new groups, especially in places where the problem of whale gill in fishing gear is continuously growing. In this workshop 6 groups were trained which were distributed along the Mexican Pacific coast from Mazatlan to Manzanillo. During the workshop, each group was given the necessary and appropriate tool for the rescue of whales entangled in fishing gear. They were also trained in the sea so that each future rescue will be taken care of safely and without exposing human life. Rescues are always carried out on board a boat.
The second workshop was held in La Paz Baja California, with the aim of training the peninsula and where representatives of Latin America also attended, in order to have a greater number of trained people. During the first day of the workshop marine mammal veterinary issues focused on whales were addressed and these topics were taught by Dr. Michael Moore of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Dr. Frances Gulland of The Marine Mammal Center. The second day focused on training for the rescue of humpback whales, the topics were taught by David Mattila and Ed Lyman of the NOAA and the International Whaling Commission. The third and last day was totally practical,
These workshops were carried out thanks to the support of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) and with the collaboration of the International Whaling Commission and NOAA.
We can be proud that in Mexico we already have 8 teams trained and equipped to attend this type of event.
TRAINING WORKSHOPS TO TOUR OPERATORS OF OBSERVATION OF WHALES IN THE MEXICAN PACIFIC
Prior to the whale watching season, four training workshops were held for tour operators of whale watching, in order that this activity be practiced following the guidelines published in the official Mexican standard NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010, informing to all those boat captains and tourist guides on the general aspects of the biology and behavior of the humpback whale, the recommendations for not breaking the rule, the possible sanctions to which they may be subject and positive information on the observation activity of whales worldwide.
The first workshop was held in September in Oaxaca and the participation of the Mexican Turtle Center, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and tour operators. The response was good, especially since before that date, the activity was carried out irregularly, without permission and without the necessary training to offer a good service without harassing the whales.
The second and third workshops were held in Guayabitos and San Blas, Nayarit, respectively. These workshops included the active participation of PROFEPA, SEMARNAT, CONANP and the Technological Institute of Bahía de Banderas. It was aimed at tour operators and tourist guides. At the end of each workshop a FORD analysis was carried out where the strengths, opportunities, risks and weaknesses of the whale watching activity in each region were captured in order to improve the service in the future.
The fourth workshop was held in Nuevo Vallarta Nayarit, which had the active support of SEMARNAT, CONANP, PROFEPA and the Technological Institute of Bahía de Banderas. This happened at the same time as the granting of permits for whale watching for the Bahía de Banderas region, which involved authorities from the states of Nayarit and Jalisco, as well as providers of tourist services throughout the bay. During this workshop, Mr. Justino Nieblas and Mr. José Angel Salcedo were also given special recognition for their extensive experience in whale watching, their commitment to research, conservation and protection of the humpbacks and their good navigation practices. .
LAUNCH OF VARIOUS CAMPAIGNS:
NEW OUTREACH CAMPAIGNS:
I CARE FOR THE WHALES I CARE FOR THE WHALES
It promotes good navigation practices so as not to bother the whales, in this campaign they are delivering leaflets to encourage good navigation practices and those tour operators with good service focused mainly on the care of whales are being awarded, the ultimate goal is that each of the tour operators and companies that offer the service receives recognition and the result is that the Bay of Banderas is considered the best place for the sighting of humpback whales based on the good service offered as well as the care and respect to the whales and their environment.
NAVIGATE WITH CAUTION CRUISE WITH CAUTION
To make people extreme precautions or slow down and not run over the humpback whales. This campaign is mainly directed to private vessels or without permission of observation of whales, in order to be informed of the presence of whales in the bay and that meet the guidelines found in the official whale watching standard, where they are invited to navigate with extreme caution and slow down so as not to cause collisions with boats and not to endanger human life, the whale and damage to the boat.