Have you heard of Dolphin SMART? It’s a cool program that encourages responsible viewing of dolphins in the wild.
On Earth Day, the Dolphin SMART program launched its official Facebook page and the celebration continued all week long. Dolphin SMART is a collaboration between NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Fisheries Service, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and the Dolphin Ecology Project that began in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary back in 2007 and has continued to grow every year since.
The program is designed to promote responsible enjoyment of dolphins in the wild by minimizing the impact of dolphin harassment caused by commercial dolphin-watching activities, reducing expectations of close interactions with wild dolphins, and eliminating advertising that promotes those unrealistic expectations.
It is a voluntary, incentive-based program that any commercial dolphin viewing business can be a part of. You can see a list of participating companies here.
So the next time you book a dolphin tour, consider booking it with a company that makes dolphin conservation a priority. Be SMART!
- Stay back 50 yards from dolphins;
- Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance;
- Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near;
- Refrain from touching or swimming with wild dolphins;
- Teach others to be Dolphin SMART!
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.