Mechanisms for assessing the sustainability of swim-with-whales tourism in the Great Barrier Reef

Curnock, Matthew, Birtles, Alastair, and Valentine, Peter (2011) Mechanisms for assessing the sustainability of swim-with-whales tourism in the Great Barrier Reef. In: 3rd Australian National Network in Marine Science Conference. pp. 1-5. From: 3rd Australian National Network in Marine Science Conference, 29 November - 1 December 2011, Perth. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

An Australian Government sanctioned swimming-with-whales tourism industry has developed in the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) based on the austral winter migration of dwarf minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata subsp.). The cumulative impacts of this growing tourism activity are uncertain and there are widespread concerns about the sustainability of swim-with-cetaceans programs. The geographic remoteness of these interactions in the GBR poses additional challenges for monitoring the activity. Adopting a ‘sustainability science’ approach, this study utilised a mixed methodology to develop a framework for monitoring this activity in the GBR. Principles of Participatory Action Research were employed to engage key stakeholders (including tourism operators, government management agency staff, cetacean scientists and representatives of wildlife conservation NGOs) in an iterative process to develop species, location and industry-specific sustainability objectives, that encompass ecological, social, economic and management goals. Concurrent to this process, a range of potential indicators were evaluated using industry and researcher-generated data. This presentation critically evaluates the process followed, highlighting factors contributing to its achievements and shortcomings. Future steps and issues affecting the implementation of the monitoring framework are discussed.

Item ID: 24903
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2013 05:33
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 33%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150601 Impacts of Tourism @ 34%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 33%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960609 Sustainability Indicators @ 34%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 33%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 33%
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