No detectable improvement in compliance to regulations by "swim-with-dolphin" operators in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia

Scarpaci, C, Nugegoda, D and Corkeron, P 2004, 'No detectable improvement in compliance to regulations by "swim-with-dolphin" operators in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia', Tourism in Marine Environments, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 41-48.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title No detectable improvement in compliance to regulations by "swim-with-dolphin" operators in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia
Author(s) Scarpaci, C
Nugegoda, D
Corkeron, P
Year 2004
Journal name Tourism in Marine Environments
Volume number 1
Issue number 1
Start page 41
End page 48
Total pages 7
Publisher Cognizant Communication Corporation
Abstract This article reports on operator compliance with regulations regarding humans swimming with free-ranging bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia. The objective of this study was to compare if the level of compliance to three conditions (approach type, swim time, and time in proximity to dolphins) in the tour operators' permits changed after state government conducted a review on the existing operators. An additional fourth condition (number of swimmers participating in a dolphin-swim) was also studied. A total of 128 commercial dolphin-swim trips from September 1998-April 1999 and September 1999-April 2000 (prereview) and 16 commercial dolphin-swim trips from February-March 2002 and January 2003 (postreview) were studied. Data were collected using 1-minute scan samples and continuous observations from all three operating human-dolphin-swim tourist vessels. There was no detectable change in the level of compliance for rules regarding the way boats approached dolphins, their time in the proximity of dolphins, and the length of time people swam with dolphins. Operators always complied with regulations regarding the number of people participating in a dolphin-swim. Investigations of the extent to which tourism affects cetaceans have tended to ignore whether tourist vessels obey existing regulations. This study demonstrates that compliance cannot be assumed, and that operators appear to comply better with conditions that are easily quantified. Further, studies are needed to determine the statistical power required to detect changes in tour operator behavior to conditions in their permits. This will inform agencies whether the changes they have implemented to improve compliance levels are actually working.
Subject Environmental Impact Assessment
Keyword(s) compliance
swim-with-dolphin operations
bottlenose dolphins
Copyright notice © 2004 Cognizant Communication Corporation
ISSN 1544-273X
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