Whether for scientific research or tourism, we must approach animals with respect.
The Shelltone Whale Project, a non-profit organisation recognised as being of general interest for its acoustic research and environmental actions in the marine environment, has created a charter for approaching cetaceans, based on its experience of scientific research and also its experience of cetacean watching tourism.
All the people who work on the Shelltone Whale Project boats, in addition to their training in bioacoustics and geo-referencing of cetaceans given by Pierre Lavagne de Castellan, are systematically trained in a respectful approach to cetaceans and sign our charter.
In French territorial waters, our approaches are made in compliance with the French Marine Protected Areas Charter, to which we are signatories.
In Spanish territorial waters our approaches to cetaceans must respect the distances established by the current regulation RD 1727/2007, we are navigating in an area declared ZEC (Special Area of Conservation).
The Shelltone Whale Project Charter R E S P E C T
This protocol for approaching cetaceans is applied to every sea trip.
Our observation protocol is governed by simple principles:
- Our daily trips to the sea to carry out our research have enabled us to establish a climate of trust with the cetaceans, who alone decide to interact with humans in a calm, serene and conscious atmosphere.
- On each trip, we use our hydrophone (underwater microphone) and we decipher the sounds heard in the sea, whale songs, sperm whale codas, dolphin and pilot whale whistles. These sounds, heard live, allow us to decide on the orientation of the boat to give us the best chance to observe the animals while respecting their own behaviour during the encounter.
- A unique experience, a scientific, ecological and educational approach, based on the principles of non-intrusion, respect for the cetaceans and their social life, and their own way of life.
This is the approach we use during the observations: