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Marine tourism

Room: Dochart A     2014-08-18; 15:00 - 17:00

NB: Unless specified otherwise, presentations are 15 minutes in length, and speed presentations are 5 mins in length.

Chair(s)/Moderator(s): Smith, Joanna

C26.1  15:00  What motives a \'swim-with\" tour industry to comply? Carol Scarpaci *, Victoria University; Leia Howes Victoria University; Stafford-Bell, R Victoria University; Mary Cowling Victoria University; Kirby Smith Victoria University;

Abstract: The literature indicates that compliance levels in swim-with dolphin tourism can be a concern. Factors that motivate tour-operations to comply to regulations should be evaluated to provide insight into the management of cetacean tourism. This study, documents levels of compliance in free ranging "swim-with-tourism" with dolphins, seals and sharks. The study collected data on a range of guiding principles (approach type, swims with calves, number of swimmers; approach distances) onboard licensed tour vessels across 7 locations. Motivators considered were a) search effort b) onus of compliance (industry or participant) c) imposed independent research d) group composition and e) group orientation. Data indicated that compliance levels were significantly influenced by species -shark-dive-tourism ranked higher than seal and dolphin-swim tourism. The group composition and group orientation of dolphins significantly influenced approach type used (legal vs illegal). The presence of imposed independent research increased compliance in seal-swim programs. Shark tourist divers adhered to all conditions (100% compliance) that they owned (do not chase shark) and shark tour operations demonstrated 12% reduction in their owned conditions (diver number). The high levels of compliance by shark tourist divers may indicate that tour education (regulations) could enhance compliance by tourists to adopt ownership of guiding principles and warrants education. The predictability of the targeted animal may influence levels of compliance.

C26.2  15:15  Using Photo-ID in the Philippines to describe the largest aggregation of whale sharks in South East Asia through dedicated research effort and citizen science. Araujo, G *, Physalus NGO; So, CL Physalus NGO; Lucey, A Physalus NGO; Labaja, J Physalus NGO; Snow, SJ Physalus NGO; David, DN WWF-Philippines; Ponzo, A Physalus NGO;

Abstract: Prior to 1998, whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, were extensively hunted in the Bohol Sea, with more than 700 recorded landings between 1993 and 1997. The Large Marine Vertebrates Project started photographic identification of whale sharks in the region in late 2011 to assess the status of its population. In the waters of Oslob, Cebu, a site where the animals are provisioned daily by the local fishermen, 158 R. typus were identified between March 2012 and December 2013. In Sogod Bay (Southern Leyte) the team described a second aggregation of 92 individual R. typus between February and July 2013. Both aggregations were juvenile male biased and one individual (P-004) was re-sighted in Sogod Bay 7 years apart. (2006-2013). Ten individuals were identified at both sites using photographic identification, with one individual travelling between these sites (215km) in 13 days. Additionally, individual sharks were visually matched from photographs taken across other areas of Cebu (6), Bohol Island (3), and Limasawa (3). Four sharks were also matched thanks to the online database Wildbook for whale sharks (whaleshark.org), with Donsol (Sorsogon), where WWF-Philippines has been running one of the longest research projects in South East Asia. This represents the first assessment of the status of the whale shark population in the central Philippines since their fishing ban, its connectivity with other areas in the country, and it underlines the importance of citizen science as a valid research tool.

C26.3  15:30  An agent-based model on the effects of dive tourism on Koh Tao, Thailand Using computer simulation as sustainable management tool. Fei,Wang *, PhD student of ZMT, Bremen; Hauke,Reuter Supervisor in ZMT, Bremen;

Abstract: On a regional scale, tourism constitutes an important influence on local coral reefs. Furthermore, management regulations and alternative measures are necessary to avoid severe damage in the near future. The overall aim of this study is to conduct an agent-based model as a management tool to analyse the implications of dive tourism for coral, and to evaluate the implementations of different management schemes on sustainable use. One of the goals is to evaluate trade-offs between different economic strategies. This agent-based model has a user-friendly interface developed in JAVA using the Mason library. Tourism as a social-ecological system is viewed in this model under a multi-stakeholder context where actions and reactions of each stakeholder are examined in conjunction with the behaviours of other stakeholders. Both social and ecological components representing social actors (dive school, tourists and NGO) and environmental (coral reef) dynamics are included. By general adjustments and specific parameter changes in this simulation, different management strategies or policies can be tested before implementation, and will therefore yield a holistic sustainable management plan.

C26.5  15:45  Self Sustainable Ecotourism Activities with Community Participation in Coastal Karnataka, India. Ramesh, S *, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Honavar, Karnataka, India;

Abstract: Honnavar Forest Division of Karnataka occupies a place of tremendous ecological significance because of its location in the Western Ghats and the West Coast Region of India. The coastal part of this division includes four estuaries formed by rivers joining the Arabian Sea which support estuarine ecosystems like mangrove forests and fishery resources. High population density and over indulgence in traditional livelihood activities like fishing, clam and oyster picking, etc have increased the pressure on natural resources. An attempt was therefore made to promote sustainable ecotourism activities with the participation of local communities as an alternate livelihood engagement. As many as Eight eco tourism centers have been established in association with groups of local communities called Village Forest Committees (VFCs). This includes an exclusive mangrove eco tourism center. The VFC’s are responsible for planning, execution and management of the ecotourism sites and the Forest Department only monitor these activities. The income generated from these centers is utilized for community development and also for village forest development. These efforts have given remarkable results and yielding considerable economic returns. The income generated from such activities is utilized for distribution of fuel saving devices and non conventional energy devices to VFC members, to reduce their dependency on forest area for firewood.

C26.6  16:00  The Implementation Of Spatial Ecologimic Model As The Tool For Assessing The Tourism Management Conflict Of A Small Island. Sutisno, Dewayany *, Geospatial Information agency;

Abstract: The nature of ecosystem has unique characteristics that often attract people to adore its beauty and goods. However, the human interaction with the habitats may pressure the nature especially within small islands. To assess the important of small islands ecosystem from both economic and ecological perspectives, it is necessary to set sustainable management, which able to ensure human benefits without risking adverse changes in ecosystem. Togean islands – Indonesia, one of the world richest biodiversity, were selected as the case study due to the management conflict from both regional and national government. The regional government claims the islands as the Marine Tourism Park while the national government as the Marine National Park. The recent activities are mostly dealing with ecotourism and capture fisheries. This study aims to assess the best management scenarios of the island to meet the need of both. For this reason, a spatial ecologimic (ecological and economical) model, was developed to solve the conflict. The result of implementing the model indicates that the Marine National Park is the best management option, whereas ecotourism and capture fisheries activities are allowable on the utilization zone. The study also indicates the participatory approach is best solution for sustainable management.

C26.7  16:15  Developing a Code of Conduct for Interacting with Manta Rays – The science behind human interactions. Lee-Brooks, K *, Head of Operations; Murray, A Operations Manager; Lynam, R Expeditions Manager; Atkins, R Manta Trust Patron; Ender, I Expeditions Leader;

Abstract: Manta rays (Manta alfredi and Manta birostris) face increasing threats from a growing trade exploiting the species for their valuable gill plates. However, regarded as one of the most charismatic marine species, manta ecotourism is a booming industry, valued at US$140 million annually around the globe. This presents the opportunity to encourage a sustainable, non-consumptive industry which in turn promotes the protection of this vulnerable species. As this industry continues to grow it is imperative that specific guidelines are implemented to mitigate negative impacts on manta rays. Anecdotal reports show mantas’ natural conduct is being altered by human presence, interfering with both their cleaning and feeding behaviour. Using video footage of in-water encounters involving snorkelers/divers and mantas, collected over a two year period, this report shows that impacts can be mitigated by following a code of conduct, detailing the specific type and distance of approach during interactions. Analysis of data showed that almost 50% of snorkel and 80% of dive interactions resulted in avoidance behaviour when approached front on due to humans blocking the natural swimming path of mantas. Maintaining distance from mantas is vital; interactions of 5m or more ensured that 86% of encounters resulted in no response. Such guidelines for in-water interactions with mantas are needed to prevent disturbing natural behaviour therefore maintaining manta ecotourism as a sustainable option.

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