What's whale-watching?

Whale-watching is a commercial tourism activity through which people observe whales and dolphins in their natural environment from a boat. It is a rich and complex discipline with multiples issues.

What is the High Quality Whale-Watching certification?

"We love what amazes us, and we protect what we love." J.-Y. Cousteau)

Created to supervise an expanding tourism activity and guide volunteer operators, the High Quality Whale-Watching® certification is an ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Backs Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area) trademark jointly developed with the Pelagos Sanctuary.

ACCOBAMS/Pelagos patnership

This certification is in line with a naturalist approach. Cetaceans are wild animals moving in a vast environment and their observation during every trip cannot be guaranteed. That si why certified trips do not target exclusively whales and dolphins. Operators will be keen to show you the marine biodiversity in general: marine birds, fish, turtles, etc.

Besides, the certification guarantees a whale and dolphin approach respectful of the code of good conduct for the observation of Mediterranean cetaceans enacted by the Pelagos and ACCOBAMS Agreements.

Moreover, educational information acquired during a training course is provided to you by the certified operator all along the trip. The training course is organised by Souffleurs d'Ecume, in charge of implementing the certification in the French Mediterranean Sea.

Finally, in the framework of responsible ethics certified operators commit to waste sorting on-board their vessels.

What do certified operators commit against?

A High Quality Whale-Watching® operator does not offer:

- To swim with cetaceans:

The scientific community is worried about this activity, both in terms of animal disturbance and safety of tourists dropped close to wild predators. These marine mammals already had the chance to remind dozens of zealous swimmers that they are not cuddly toys! Solicitous over your safety and the tranquility of the animals, certified operators will not offer you to swim close to a whale or a dolphin.

Example of agression: A pilot whale attacks a intrusive swimmer

- Aerial assistance:

Used to detect cetaceans, it is also a matter of worry. Inasmuch as it is likely to increase pressure on animals, it is considered as incompatible with a high environmental quality activity by the Group of Scientific Interest for Mediterranean Marine Mammals (GIS3M).