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WDCS publishes bilingual guide to Whale Watching and Marine Ecotourism in Russia

WDCS, working with the Far East Russia Orca Project, has published a new guide to setting up and promoting marine ecotourism, including whale watching, in Russia.

The 86-page Whale Watching and Marine Ecotourism in Russia, written by FEROP co-director and WDCS Senior Research Fellow Erich Hoyt, demonstrates that commercial whale watching and marine ecotourism provide an economic alternative to the exploitation of marine wildlife for hunting or captivity in marine zoos. Whale watching trips can also offer valuable ship time for research and other scientific support, and are important for education.

Whale watching currently exists at only a small level in Russia, but the potential is enormous if the obstacles of infrastructure, extreme conditions and seasonality can be overcome. Russia is rich in marine mammals, with 29 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise and 14 species of seals, sea lions, fur seals and walruses, as well as sea otters and polar bears. The new WDCS guide presents detailed information on where these species can be found in every region of the country.

The publication of the guide is timely because the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources has recently approved quotas for summer 2006 to capture 6 orcas, 5 bottlenose dolphins, 5 pilot whales, 10 Pacific white-sided dolphins, and to hunt or capture (mainly kill),1270 belugas and more than 90,000 seals. The WDCS guide contends that such captures and kills are unnecessary, unwise, and could threaten the development of a marine ecotourism industry in Russia.

Author of the new guide, Erich Hoyt said: "In future, whale watching in Russia could provide income for local people and encourage a long-term sustainable relationship with the sea."

Whale Watching and Marine Ecotourism in Russia is available in a bilingual Russian and English edition, to download a copy of the guide, please click here (1.9 Mb)