Bottlenose dolphins are a key resource of the tourism industry in Fiordland and are used on a daily basis by the tour operators offering cruises on the fiords. Recent studies have shown that the current levels of dolphin-boat interactions in this region cannot be sustained by bottlenose dolphins. Interactions have both short- and long-term effects on both individuals and their populations. Population models indicate that these effects may be affecting the viability of the three bottlenose dolphin populations living in Fiordland. We are currently observing drastic changes in the bottlenose dolphin population living in Doubtful Sound, which can be linked to the level of boat interactions to which they are currently exposed. The creation of a multilevel marine mammal sanctuary would help minimize dolphin-boat interactions and still allow for some further growth in the tourism sector in Fiordland.
Lusseau, D., Slooten, L., & Currey, R. J. C. (2006). Unsustainable dolphin-watching tourism in Fiordland, New Zealand. Tourism in Marine Environments, 3(2), 173-178. https://doi.org/10.3727/154427306779435184