We are excited to announce that the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), the international custodian of the Blue Flag eco-label, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), the world’s largest partnership working to protect the cetacean group of marine mammals which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.
This partnership will see the two organisations work hand-in-hand towards sustainability within the cetacean-watching industry and recognises Blue Flag and WCA’s existing work and expertise in their respective fields.
Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label that focuses on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to provide environmental education, raise awareness and promote sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach managers. It has become an international symbol of quality for beaches, boats and marinas that meet high standards of excellence in a number of criteria.
With the ongoing growth of the marine tourism industry there is increasing pressure on popular whale and dolphin watching sites, which heightens the need to provide environmental education to marine tourists and for operators to implement sound practices to ensure that marine mammals are never at risk or stressed by the surrounding boats. Last year Blue Flag introduced new criteria for sustainable tourism boats to ensure that these goals are met. These new Blue Flag criteria complement the WCA’s recently launched Whale Heritage Site accreditation, which recognises the best global destinations for whale and dolphin watching.
As the South African implementer of the Blue Flag programme we welcome the new partnership with the WCA and see it as a further strengthening of the commitment to sustainable tourism by all of the partner organisations.
Applications from sustainable tourism boating operators, beaches and marinas for Blue Flag accreditation in the 2017/18 South African Blue Flag season are now open until Friday 28 April. Apply here