World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) (1) — sankalpa supported activity

World Cetacean Alliance


With 13 million tourists annually choosing to spend their holidays whale watching, World Cetacean Alliance — the largest network of whale and dolphin watching experts — see whale watching as a first step in engaging and influencing huge numbers of people to take responsibility for protecting the seas.

By bringing together a mix of commercial tour operators (tourist whale and dolphin spotting boats), NGOs, scientists and educators WCA works to improve the lives of cetaceans through a combination of community focused training and education programmes.

Supporting World Cetacean Alliance 

After developing a Responsible Whale Watching Certification and receiving excellent take up in countries including Mexico and South Africa, the WCA team found that they were struggling to roll out the programme in areas where boat operators don’t tend to have the funds required for training.

As a way to reduce costs but achieve maximum impact, WCA concluded that providing certification training would only be possible (in certain countries) if whale watching cooperatives were developed, in partnership with local NGOs.

To administer the setup of these cooperatives, sankalpa is funding a full time staff member for two years. The new team member is cocreating the programme alongside NGOs, fishing and whale watching communities in East Africa and South America.

As an organisation we were trying and failing to grow. All our funding was coming from project related fees and so we were unable to stand on our own two feet and we kept deviating from our mission. Opportunities for charities in the early years just don’t exist and so we were becoming exhausted by constantly trying to fight fires as opposed to focusing on growth. Then we found sankalpa — they work quickly and their processes are simple, a joy!

Dylan Walker, World Cetacean Alliance

World Cetacean Alliance today

Although plastic pollution is widely reported for its hazards to marine life, it is lesser known that fishing nets are actually the biggest threat to large marine mammals. In 2019, WCA developed the first global Responsible Whale Watching Certification. The certification is given to operators who can prove that their guides and crew have the understanding required to operate with a high standard of local wildlife care, sustainability and customer experience.

The WCA’s approach is about bringing people together to overcome individual differences. Through defining and meeting common goals, WCA is balancing marine conservation activity with the commercial needs of communities dependant on making their livelihoods from the fishing and tourist industries.

We’re working with communities where fishers have converted to whale watching, for part or all of the year, because fish stocks have declined and they can’t make a living from fishing alone. The conversion to whale watching allows communities to stay on the water and for fish stocks to recover.

In many countries fishers are very used to, and comfortable with, the cooperative concept. Group working means we can dramatically reduce our costs by working through local NGOs, while ensuring that they too benefit financially from the work involved.

Dylan Walker, World Cetacean Alliance
World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) (2) — sankalpa supported activity
World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) (3) — sankalpa supported activity
main.css loaded.