Environment strengthens knowledge of captains and boat owners

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MMARN) held a workshop with captains and boat owners, with the objective of strengthening their knowledge of the protocols governing the humpback whale watching season, which runs from January 15 to March 30.

The activity was attended by more than 60 people involved in tourism activities associated with whale watching in the Banco de la Plata and Navidad Marine Mammal Sanctuary, as well as in Samaná Bay. Also present were technicians and support personnel from MMARN.

The workshop, which was given through the Vice Ministry of Protected Areas and Biodiversity and the Treasury Department of the Ministry, was aimed at educating the captains on the regulations governing this ecotourism activity, so that the visitation is carried out in a responsible and sustainable manner.

The workshop facilitators were Nelson García Marcano, biologist from the Biodiversity Directorate; Tania García, from the Ecotourism Department; Lenny Moris Rosario, interim administrator of the Bancos De La Plata y la Navidad Marine Mammal Sanctuary, and Luis Carlos López, Northeast regional coordinator of the Protected Areas Management Department.

Biologist Nelson García Marcano highlighted the importance of the Banco de la Plata y la Navidad Marine Mammal Sanctuary. He recalled that it is the largest marine protected area in the country and one of the first of its kind in the world.

The marine mammal watching season has been baptized this year as: “Samaná, cradle of whales”, and within the rules established to safeguard the life of these mammals, it is emphasized that all vessels must monitor and control compliance with the established regulations, as well as report the consequences of non-compliance with these.

Measures for the protection of whales

Samaná Bay and its surrounding waters is one of the main breeding and calving grounds for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the world, also known as humpback whales, which in adulthood can measure more than 15 meters long and weigh more than 30 tons.

The Ministry of the Environment encourages continued compliance with measures such as having a communication radio; allowing only three vessels to be observed, regardless of their length; and observing in the order of arrival. Also, waiting vessels must maintain a distance of 250 meters, be behind the boats under observation, and wait in groups of three.

During this whale watching season, a vessel is not allowed to stay longer than 30 minutes with a group of whales, and 20 minutes with a mother and calf. In addition, it is forbidden to turn off the boats’ engines for safety reasons. All people who wish to participate in this humpback whale watching season may do so from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Source: Presidencia.gob.do

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