Whale killed by a collision

What is 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.

The activity first emerged in the United States in the 1950s. Found in more than 110 countries all over the world, it attracts more than 10 million people each year!

Why cetaceans here?

Why is there a Sanctuary dedicated to Mediterranean cetaceans? Why here? What makes this area especially vulnerable? So many questions for which it is possible to provide part of the answer...

1. The corso-liguro-provençal basin stretching from Provence to Corsica up from the Ligurian Sea (picture opopsite) is an absolute golden triangle in the Mediterranean. This area bears a singular currentology leading to a very high production of plankton in summer.

2. Plankton is the basis of the marine food chain. That is why cetaceans come in numbers in summer to feed in this area of high primary production.

3. This cetacean highway is also confronted to intense shipping traffic. The Pelagos Sanctuary was created to reduce the impact of this activity on these mammals.

Pelagos Sanctuary area

Current issues in the north-western Mediterranean Sea

Coming from the United States, the whale-watching activity has been strongly increasing since the 1990s on the Mediterranean coast. Several studies show that such a development, if unreasonable, can have serious impacts on cetacean individuals and populations. On the contrary, a sustainable activity can become a fantastic vector of economic development, cetacean conservation and public awareness.

The creation of the Pelagos Sanctuary gave operators, scientists and NGOs the opportunity to collaborate to develop a certification aiming at encouraging a reasonable and sustainable whale-watching activity: the High Quality Whale-Watching®

Protecting these top predators, among the largest the Earth has ever borne, is a necessity in terms of maintaining the Mediterranean ecological balance. Moreover preventing harming their longevity on Earth constitutes a fantastic commitment in terms of passing down this natural heritage to future generations...