Applications were welcomed for whale watching by Otago Harbor

Forest and Bird welcomes requests for small travel groups to view marine mammals around the harbor and the Otago peninsula.

Three applications have been submitted to the Department of Conservation (DOC) to view marine mammals around the port or the Otago peninsula in the past two months.

If the permits are granted, this could mean up to 1000 new trips each year in the area.

Anton van Helden, champion of forests and birds, said that the guided tours with "small footprint" can help inform tourists about nature and nature conservation.

"This recent number of small-scale tourism activities is in a way a good thing."

"It shows that the regulatory processes are in place and that the operators and the Department of Conservation work together to ensure that they in fact minimize the impact on these animals.

" This shows good practices in tourism in practice. "

DOC operations manager Annie Wallace said tour operators played a role in providing educational information to visitors, including what threats they encountered and what could be done to help different species.

"They are made aware of what good behavior is and we expect them to share this with other port users. 19659003] "They also help to keep an eye on whether there are animals that need help or attention from DOC."

The conditions for permits for viewing marine mammals are designed to minimize the impact on wildlife. The permits specify how far away from the animals the vessels must keep, the amount of time spent in the vicinity of marine mammals and the total number of tours that can take place.

"All authorized operators must comply with these and other agreed conditions."

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