15 Feb 2022
Studies indicate that cetaceans contribute significantly to the sustainability and regulation of marine ecosystems, but they are also one of the groups most affected by shipping. The growth of the human population in the Banderas Bay region has led to an increase in maritime traffic. Winter is the high season for tourism, so the supply and demand for marine activities increases considerably. Humpback whales are one of the main tourist attractions. The whale watching industry has grown rapidly, not so responsible tourism practices nor the monitoring of the activity by the authority. This places Banderas Bay as an area of potential risk for the conservation of the species that inhabit it.
The present work aims to know the distribution and abundance of cetaceans in Banderas Bay and their response to the presence of boats. This data will be analysed with maps to identify possible overlap areas. In addition, we will evaluate the knowledge of the resource users and we collect and concentrate their suggestions to avoid affecting marine mammals during their activities. With the distribution, abundance and the suggestions, brochures will be made to share them with the users of the bay and invite them to join the actions for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitat. In addition, the data on diversity, distribution and abundance will allow us to increase our knowledge of those species for which little information is available; as well as to evaluate and demonstrate how high tourism development can affect the distribution and abundance of marine mammals. Our results will give us the basis to assess the anthropogenic impacts in an ecosystem with high anthropogenic environmental stress.
These activities will be carried out with the support of students and volunteers, who will be previously trained. The outreach will be done through local media (radio, TV and newspapers), social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and through the preferred way by captains and boat owners.