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Human-cetacean conflict solutions

National regulation guidelines and strategies for whale and dolphin watching have been developed to ensure responsible interactions.

The National Institute of Learning developed a free course based on the whale watching regulations, which must be re-taken every five years by everyone working in cetacean watching tourism. The course is also on track to become mandatory.  

There are billboard posters installed at marinas and the public boat dock in Golfito, describing the legal framework for boat interactions with cetaceans and encouraging tourists to oppose violations. The Coast Guard can also be requested to intervene if irresponsible activities are observed.

Collaboration between whale watching operators in the region is strong, with approximately 95% of local operators belonging to the “Delfines y Ballenas” WhatsApp group. This provides a platform to share sightings and important information regularly, as well as provide feedback and reminders on best practices during tours. In addition, Osa Conservation hosts an annual assembly of tour boat guides and fishermen to review the rules and regulations, which offers the opportunity for persistent problems to be discussed and addressed with everyone present.

Open communication and the opportunity to air grievances via the “Delfines y Ballenas” group and in-person meetings have proven to help resolve conflicts and encourage compliance with regulations.

Photo: Changing Tide Tours