Whale-watching has become increasingly popular in the recent years all around Iceland. With this increasing popularity, questions arose on on the potential effects of whale watching vessels on cetaceans. Whilst little is yet know, current research seeks to investigate potential effects.
As a precautionary measurement the Icelandic association IceWhale has developed a Code of Conduct to promote responsible whale watching. The aim can be summarised as:
- minimising impact on cetacean for the future and the sustainability of whale watching operation in Iceland.
- ensuring the best possible encounter, both for animal welfare and passenger enjoyment.
- increasing development, understanding and awareness of appropriate practices when watching cetaceans.
Details of the Code of Conduct can be seen in the image below.
All whale-watching companies operating in Húsavík have adopted this code and follow the rules in their daily operation. Gentle Giants, North Sailing and Salka Whale Watching are also members of IceWhale.
While this code applies to vessels during whale watching, some whale watching companies have gone one step further and offer their vessels as platform for marine biologists to study the behavioural impact of whale watching.