Managing the impacts of dolphin-based tourism through the definition of critical habitats: the case of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand

D Lusseau, J E S Higham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

113 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marine ecotourism in New Zealand presents a challenging tourism-environment management context. This is demonstrated in the case of Doubtful Sound (New Zealand) where the recent proliferation of tour operators has brought pressures to bear upon a population of bottlenose dolphins resident in the sound. Strict methodologies are necessary to objectively interpret responses to tourism-induced anthropogenic impacts upon cetaceans. Previous research in this field has established that boat interactions with dolphins in Doubtful Sound affect the behavioural budget of the dolphin population, and that dolphins are more sensitive to interactions with boats when they are resting and to a lesser extent when they are socialising. This article reports on a programme of research that employed observational data to explore the applicability of tourism management techniques grounded in spatial ecology. The data provided scientific evidence that determining critical habitat through spatio-ecological analysis is a powerful tool to protect marine mammals in New Zealand, and elsewhere, from biologically significant tourism-induced impacts. The delineation of multi-levelled marine sanctuaries may, therefore, be an effective approach to managing the impacts of tourism upon marine mammals. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-667
Number of pages11
JournalTourism Management
Volume25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • ecotourism
  • dolphins
  • critical habitat
  • spatial ecology
  • impact management
  • New Zealand
  • WHALES ORCINUS-ORCA
  • CONCEPTUAL-FRAMEWORK
  • PROTECTED AREAS
  • BEHAVIOR
  • BOATS
  • CONSERVATION
  • AVOIDANCE
  • TRUNCATUS
  • RESPONSES
  • BAY

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