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Whale-watching: Sustainable Tourism and Ecological Management

A critical analysis of the human and ecological dimensions of whale-watching, providing broad insights and in-depth perspectives on key aspects
Brings together diverse perspectives from a range of fields, placing the global whale-watching industry in socio-cultural, political, economic and ecological context
Includes case studies addressing commercial whale-watching, sustainable development and conservation of the global marine environment

By: James Higham (Editor), Lars Bejder (Editor), Rob Williams (Editor)

403 pages, 16 plates with colour photos, colour illustrations and colour maps; 64 b/w photos, illustrations, and maps; 24 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Mar 2014 | #208135 | ISBN-13: 9780521195973
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NHBS Price: £76.99 $94/€87 approx

About this book

Within little more than a generation, whale-watching has been subject to global industrial development. It has been portrayed by destinations and business operators, and advocated by environmental groups, as a sustainable activity and an alternative to whaling. However, in recent years the sustainability of these activities has increasingly been questioned, as research shows that repeated disturbance by boat traffic can severely disrupt critical behaviours of cetaceans in the wild.

Bringing together contributions by international experts, Whale-watching: Sustainable Tourism and Ecological Management addresses complex issues associated with commercial whale-watching, sustainable development and conservation of the global marine environment. It highlights widely expressed concerns for the failure of policy, planning and management and pinpoints both long-standing and emerging barriers to sustainable practice.

Featuring numerous case studies, Whale-watching: Sustainable Tourism and Ecological Management provides critical insights into the diverse socio-cultural, political, economic and ecological contexts of this global industry, highlighting the challenges and opportunities that arise along the pathways to sustainability.


List of contributors

1. Tourism, cetaceans and sustainable development: moving beyond simple binaries and intuitive assumptions James Higham, Lars Bejder and Rob Williams

Part I. The Historical and Contemporary Contexts
2. Threats facing cetacean populations: the global context Rob Williams
3. From adoration to exploitation: the historical and contemporary contexts of human-cetacean interactions Simon J. Allen
4. Human attitudes and values: tradition versus transformation Peter Corkeron
5. The whale watch industry: historical development Erich Hoyt and Chris Parsons
6. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) and whale watching Carole Carlson, Naomi Rose, Hidehiro Kato and Rob Williams

Part II. Human Dimensions of Whale Watching
7. The whaling versus whale watching debate: the resumption of Icelandic whaling Marianne Helene Rasmussen
8. Iceland and the resumption of whaling: an empirical study of the attitudes of international tourists and whale watch tour operators Tommy Andersson, Beatrice Wende and Susanna Gothall
9. Green messengers or nature's spectacle: understanding visitor experiences of wild cetacean tours Heather Zeppel and Sue Muloin
10. Whale watching: an effective education programme is no fluke Genevieve Johnson and Cynde McInnis
11. What's in it for the whales? Exploring the potential contribution of environmental interpretation to conservation Mark Orams, Paul Forestell and Jonathon Spring
12. Integrating traditional ecological knowledge and community engagement in marine mammal protected areas Naomi McIntosh, Kepā Maly and John N. Kittinger

Part III. Ecological Dimensions of Whale Watching
13. Understanding the ecological effects of whalewatching on cetaceans Fredrik Christiansen and David Lusseau
14. Whale watching and behavioural ecology Rochelle Constantine
15. Energetic linkages between short-term and long-term effects of whalewatching disturbance on cetaceans: an example drawn from northeast Pacific resident killer whales David E. Bain, Rob Williams and Andrew W. Trites
16. Ecological constraints and the propensity for population consequences of whalewatching disturbances David Lusseau
17. The use of area-time closures as a tool to manage cetacean-watch tourism Julian Tyne, Neil Loneragen and Lars Bejder

Part IV. Sustainable Management – Insights and Issues
18. The socioeconomic, educational and legal aspects of whalewatching: a Scottish case study Chris Parsons
19. Vigilance, resilience and failures of science and management: spinner dolphins and tourism in Hawai'i David W. Johnston
20. A multi-agent model to simulate whale-watching tours: the case of the St Lawrence Estuary in Quebec, Canada Clément Chion, Jacques-André Landry, Lael Parrott, Danielle Marceau, Philippe Lamontagne, Samuel Turgeon, Robert Michaud, Cristiane C. A. Martins, Nadia Ménard, Guy Cantin and Suzan Dionne
21. Cetacean-watching in developing countries: a case study from the Mekong River Isabel Beasley, Lars Bejder and Helene Marsh
22. Whale-watching and community development: the Kaikoura (New Zealand) story David G. Simmons
23. Management of dusky dolphin tourism at Kaikoura (New Zealand) David Lundquist
24. Save the whales
25. Time to rethink: fostering the nascent 'sustainability paradigm' James Higham, Lars Bejder and Rob Williams


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James Higham is Professor of Tourism at the University of Otago, New Zealand and Visiting Professor of Sustainable Tourism at the University of Stavanger, Norway. His research interests focus on various aspects of tourism and environmental change.

Lars Bejder is an Associate Professor at Murdoch University, Australia and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Duke University, USA. His research interests include analysis and development of quantitative methods to evaluate complex animal social structures, evaluation of the impacts of human activity on cetaceans, and fundamental biology and ecology.

Rob Williams is a Canadian marine conservation biologist and a Marie Curie Senior Research Fellow with the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His research focuses on estimating wildlife abundance and distribution and assessing impacts of human activities on behaviour and energetics of marine mammals.

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