Gqeberha’s Algoa Bay awarded Whale Heritage Site status

Posted by Anita Froneman on 17 June 2021

Algo Bay in Gqeberha has been declared a Whale Heritage Site, making South Africa the only country in the world with two accredited sites. Algoa Bay joins the Bluff in Durban.

The prestigious status was awarded by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) and supported by World Animal Protection, recognising a ‘community´s commitment to respect and celebrate whales, dolphins and other cetaceans,’ the website reads.

Humpback whale breaching. Image credit: Aaron Gekoski

Lloyd Edwards, owner of Raggy Charters / The Baywatch Project, and a member of the site´s Steering Committee, said: “Becoming a Whale Heritage Site will ensure that visitors to the Algoa Bay marine area are contributing to destinations that celebrate natural heritage, protect marine wildlife and build a connection between local residents and sea life. In addition to the opportunity to observe sea mammals in the ocean, to attend vibrant festivals and other events that celebrate the marine environment and provide education and inspiration for tourists and locals alike.”

To qualify for this global accreditation, destinations must meet set criteria which include:

  • Encouraging respectful human-cetacean coexistence
  • Celebrating cetaceans
  • Environmental, social and economic sustainability
  • Research, education and awareness

Sites must take into account information relating to the relevant local cetacean populations, including their status, numbers, biology, habitat, behaviour and welfare, offering the travel industry a way to protect marine wildlife and support sustainable practices.

Cape Recife, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape.

“From a 7000 strong humpback whale catalogue to the annual Welcoming the Arrival of the Whales Festival, the Algoa Bay WHS stakeholders have shown their creativity and commitment in achieving the criteria set out by the WCA and reviewed by the Independent Judging Panel,” the WCA said.

Algoa Bay welcomes hundreds of cetaceans everey year, including southern right whales, humpback whales, sei whales, minke whales and dwarf minke whales. Other resident species include Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, common and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, and Bryde’s whales.

Take a look at a recent sighting by Raggy Charters – Marine-Eco Cruises:

Source: World Cetacean Alliance

Picture: Getaway gallery

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