The marine mammals observation commonly known as "whale watching" grows in the Mediterranean. If well managed, this activity is a great educational environment mean that contributes to the local economy. It can also participate in cetacean research and conservation. In the absence of regulation, it may intensify, increasing pressure on the environment and disturbance of animals, to cause a very serious impact on the populations concerned.

In the Mediterranean, there are several interesting whale watching sites that offer a seasonal or permanent home to large numbers of cetaceans. In order to ensure a sustainable future for the activity, the administrative authorities of the Pelagos Sanctuary and ACCOBAMS (the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area) chose to research the activity further, to monitor its progress, to cooperate with the professionals involved and to implement joint management measures.

In 2012, the Port-Cros National Park, in charge of the animation of the French Part of the Pelagos Agreement welcomed to Porquerolles, from April 2nd to 5th, twenty whale-watching operators for training code of conduct, provided by the “Souffleurs d’Ecume” association.

The training program is composed of four modules: marine ecology, cetology, interactions of anthropic origin and law and management of the marine environment. Shortly online the training program of April 2017 (French version).

In pursuit of these aims, the Pelagos Sanctuary and the ACCOBAMS Agreement officially recorded the establishment of a "High Quality Whale Watching" label for whale watching operators enrolled in a quality and environmental responsibility.

The French Part of the Pelagos Agreement has commissioned the Association of “Souffleurs d’Ecume” to implement this label to the French Mediterranean during the summer of 2014. Through this label, operators are committed to training and to respect the code of conduct for whale watching, or not to practice swimming with whales or aerial reconnaissance, to participate in scientific research and to deliver a quality message to passengers on cetaceans met and on the activities of the Agreement. 

France is the first country to launch the international label "High Quality Whale Watching".  This label identifies the operators of whale watching enrolled in an environmentally responsible approach to a quality whale watching (high quality whale watching).

For more information, come on the website dedicated to this activity:

pdf Download the list of the French Whale watching operators who have obtained the "high Quality Whale watching" label