Whale-watching activity in Bahia Malaga, on the Pacific coast of Colombia, and its effect on humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) behavior

TitleWhale-watching activity in Bahia Malaga, on the Pacific coast of Colombia, and its effect on humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) behavior
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsAvila, Isabel Cristina, Correa Lina Marcela, and Parsons E. C. M.
JournalTourism in Marine Environments
Volume11
Pagination19-32
EndNote Rec Number10930
Abstract

During the whale-watching season of 2008, 6,663 whale watchers and 267 boat trips were recorded in Bahía Málaga, Colombia. Forty-four percent of humpback whale pods sighted in the area were approached by boats. Operators in 2008 did not comply with Colombian whale-watching guidelines during most encounters. The modal distance between whales and boats was 50 m. Ninety-four percent of boats approached too fast (>3 knots), and 78.6% of them approached mother–calf pods. On average, a pod of whales was observed for 42.6 minutes (SD 33.1), and by more than one boat in 60.2% of cases. As a consequence of boats' presence, whales modified their behavior by reducing blows per minute, moved faster and more erratically, increased breaching frequency, and decreased resting behavior.