Local January 15, 2022 | 12:17 pm

Environment starts whale watching season 2022

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources officially began the humpback whale watching season (Megaptera Novaeangliae) 2022, with the signing of an inter-institutional agreement that will ensure the proper development of this station and will propose improvements to the management of Banco de la Plata and La Navidad, in addition to the Bay of Samaná, to safeguard human life and ensure the conservation and protection of the sanctuary and the species.

The season of observation of marine mammals, which has been baptized this year as: “A dance that perpetuates the species,” will run from this Saturday, January 15 to Thursday, March 31, for the Bay of Samaná and until Friday, April 15 for the Banco de La Plata in Puerto Plata.

Like last year, the Environment has arranged for the observation season to be carried out under a strict sanitary protocol to avoid the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.

The signing of the Marine Mammal Observation Management Agreement 2022 was signed by the Minister of the Environment, Orlando Jorge Mera; the Ministry of Tourism; The Vice-Admiral of the Navy, Ramón Gustavo Betances; the mayor of Santa Bárbara de Samaná, Nelson Antonio Núñez.

“This year with the day of visitation of the humpback whales, the Dominican Republic dresses again and we hope to have the help of Dominicans, Dominicans and tourists who can take advantage of this magnificent opportunity to see the humpback whales that come to mate here in this area,” said Orlando Jorge Mera

With this agreement, the Management Committee of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary Bancos de La Plata and La Navidad is formed for an observation season where sustainable management instruments are used to guarantee the physical integrity of whales and visitors.

All people who want to participate in this humpback whale watching season can do so from 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon.

The sanitary measures that the Ministry of the Environment has instructed that must continue are the recurrent disinfection of all vessels. In addition to having allegorical signs to the health protocol to prevent the spread of covid-19.

Likewise, the boats must comply with the provisions of the Dominican Armed Forces regarding the capacity of people who can travel, following the guidelines of the Ministry of Health to maintain physical distancing.

Similarly, each of the captains of these ships must provide visitors with disinfectant gel, take the temperature, and ensure a mask.

Vessels operating in the observation areas must also have a communication radius, and when they are vessels smaller than 30 feet in length, all passengers must have their lifeguards on.

Another of the points established to safeguard the life of these mammalian animals is that all vessels must monitor and control compliance with the regulations set for the Observation of Marine Mammals of the Banks of La Plata and La Navidad and in the Bay of Samaná, contained in the Management Plan of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary Bancos de la Plata and La Navidad.

In this whale watching season, unnecessary engine noises, smoke, and honking are not allowed to all boats sailing inside the sanctuary.

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Paul Tierney
January 15, 2022 8:23 pm

Who will be making sure there will be compliance to this inter-institutional agreement? Don’t think many health and environmental authorities will be lining the docks, inspecting tour boats, or have naval vessels monitoring bay activities. Hope they do.