Our Sustainability Story - An Introduction to Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
2018 marks our 18th year of running daily eco-safaris out in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and as each year passes, our feelings of responsibility and passion to help protect the beautiful environment that we live, play and work in only grow deeper.
Our passion for marine conservation has always been at the root of our operation. In fact, you may or may not know that our mission statement is “The preservation of species and the environment through research, education and awareness“. These are the 3 key drivers that help us to deliver a unique and exciting experience for our passengers!
We believe it is incredibly important that research on the marine environment is carried out in order for us to understand more about the species that live in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. By doing this, not only can this understanding enable better marine management decisions but, it also allows us, the crew, to educate our passengers with the most up to date knowledge of the marine species and the environment as a whole.
As the only commercial operator running daily in the Hauraki Gulf, we have taken the opportunity to collect as much data as we can, on as much of the marine life as we can during our trips. Over the years, we have built up a long-term database for the marine mammals out in the Hauraki Gulf. It is possibly the longest-running and continuous database for the area! This database has been used in many postgraduate studies as well as other management projects such as the Bryde’s whale ship-strike issue which led to the development of the Hauraki Gulf Transit Protocol (more on this in a later blog!).
In addition to this, we also open the trips up to local researchers who may not have any other way of collecting the data they require for their studies – the scientific community this is known as providing a ‘platform of opportunity’. Auckland University (Marine Mammal Ecology Group) and Massey University (Coastal-Marine Research Group), as well as AUT, are our long-standing research partners and we continue to establish new research connections each year.
As Jacques Cousteau once said, people cannot protect what they don’t love and they don’t love what they don’t know about. Many of our passengers come out with us with the main aim of seeing whales and dolphins but come away with learning at least 1 or 2 new things they didn’t know before about their new favourite whale or dolphin species.
As soon as we depart our berth, we are on an educational 4.5-hour journey. The marine ecosystem is a fluid environment and so to understand why Auckland has marine megafauna (that means big life!) living on its back doorstep, we have to understand about the marine ecosystem as a whole. Our crew take you through this starting from the tiny plants and animals (plankton), through the food chain up to the whales and dolphins.
With this new knowledge in hand, passengers are more aware of the marine environment and the impacts we, as humans, have every single day on it. By having a long-lasting impression from their experience on board we hope that passengers have an increased awareness enough to influence change in their lives whether that be making conscious decisions to decrease their own personal impact on the environment (e.g. through reducing their reliance on plastic) through to passing on little facts to their friends or family from something they learnt when they were on board with us.
So, welcome to our new blog where we will bring you a more in-depth look at us as a company as well as research that is taking place locally or globally and much, much more!