The open oceanic waters of the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize are a migratory pathway for whales. With recent advances in Whale Watching in the Caribbean, the importance of the Belize Exclusive Economic Zone to migrating whales, and participation in the Marine Mammal Workshop in 2011, ECOMAR launched the Whale Watch program in 2012 to document migratory whales throughout Belize.
A Marine Mammal Watching Workshop for the Wider Caribbean Region was held in Panama from Oct 19-22, 2011. Nidia Chacon represented ECOMAR & Belize. The valuable lessons learned are presented here in order to share the information with other NGOs and tour operators in Belize.
Representatives from the Wider Caribbean attended the workshop which aimed to establish "best practices" that would guide whale and other marine mammal watching.
Overarching principles of these guidelines might include:
"THE DEVELOPMENT OF OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES AND BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR MARINE MAMMAL WATCHING IN THE WIDER CARIBBEAN REGION"
The program was organized and funded by a host of organizations including:
- United Nations Environment Programme-Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP)
- Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW) Regional Activity Center
- National Environmental Authority of the Government of the Republic of Panama (ANAM)
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- U.S. Marine Mammal Commission
- French Marine Protected Area Agency
- Humane Society International
- International Fund for Animal Welfare
- World Society for the Protection of Animals
- Pacific Whale Foundation