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Now published - report of the IWC Whale Watch Operators Workshop

Earlier this year, the IWC brought together whale watch operators, scientists and government officials from over 20 countries.  The aim was to take forward work on a 5 year Strategic Plan and a web-based 'living handbook' for whale watching.  The workshop sought input from all stakeholders.  A number of key recommendations were made and their report is now published.

The group discussed elements of the Strategic Plan including research, capacity building, development and management.  They also agreed that, in order to become a living library of whale watching information, the online handbook should include case studies and best practice examples from around the world, and listings for all relevant organisations.

Also highlighted were the potential benefits of increased collaboration between researchers and whale watching operators, for example in data collection, where an IWC template was suggested to help operators collect information consistently.

The IWC's role in the industry was also clarified as one of advice and facilitation.  Whilst the IWC can help establish and disseminate best practice, management and regulation were clearly defined as national responsibilities.

The whale watching industry has grown rapidly in recent years.  It's now worth $2.2Bn globally and is still growing.  All those attending the workshop agreed that this growth should be sustainable and the risk of adverse impact on whales minimised.

To read the report click here.