Responsible tourism: Whale shark research in Mexico
We work hard to protect and conserve the destinations we visit around the world. We support local research and NGOs within Mexico with aims to improve more sustainable tourism practices in the short terms so as not to over exploit it in the long term.
We firmly believe that by offsetting the average CO2 emissions for each trip, we can help combat the effects of global climate change. We automatically offset the carbon emissions of flights booked through us. The funds generated from this initiative go directly into Rainforest Concernís new Rainforest4Climate programme, helping reforest tropical rainforest habitats in South America.
Whilst on these trips, your-on board guide will share his knowledge about the whale sharks as well as some of the conservation issues which they face here and around the world. Passengers are always full briefed about keeping an appropriate distance from the whale sharks, to respect them and never to touch.
Waters off the north east coast of Mexicoís Yucatan Peninsula are some of the richest in the world for pelagic marine life: a location where we not only see Whale Sharks, but can sometimes snorkel with schools of 100 or more Giant Manta Rays, Dolphins, Golden Cownose Rays, Mobula Rays, Turtles and see Sail Fish exploding out of the water. Government cut backs have meant that development of an effective management plan has fallen largely to unpaid researchers from the local community, some of whom were previously employed by the government. These trips help to provide these researchers with a livelihood and pay for their continued boat-based research and monitoring trips amongst this incredible abundance of marine life.
A critical part of our local research teamís work is to structure a voluntary code of conduct for marine tourism operators in the area. This is designed to help them operate profitably and sustainably as an alternative to fishing, which has often been the largest contributor to loss of manta rays, mobula rays, golden cownose rays and fish whose eggs contribute to the largest annual aggregation of whale sharks on the planet.
Further aims are to create a marine park to protect whale sharks from their largest cause of death: strikes by large ships. These large ship strikes not only cause the death of marine life, but also risk eliminating a sustainable resource for the local community.
We urge you to come and enjoy one of our oceanís most spectacular accumulations of marine life, with local and international whale shark experts, washed down with Mexican food, drink, culture and hospitality.