PORTLAND – Recognizing businesses that discourage the harassment of whales in the wild and promote good stewardship is one of the goals of Whale SENSE, a voluntary education and recognition program that encourages whale-watch tour operators from Maine to Virginia to practice responsible viewing.
The program was developed last year by NOAA Fisheries Service, Northeast Region and NOAAâ€™s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in partnership with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and several New England commercial whale watching companies.
The United States has the largest whale watching industry in the world, and whale watch vessels often play important roles in reporting and standing by injured, sick, and entangled animals or those struck by ships until help arrives. All whales are protected under federal laws, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act, that safeguard them from being injured, killed, or harassed and having their natural behaviors interrupted.
According to a report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the whale watching industry contributed nearly $1 billion to the nation’s economy in 2008.
Contact Name: Allison Rosner
Telephone Number: (978)282-8462