Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s Environmental Ministry today announced start this weekend of the humpback whale-watching season along the Atlantic coast and Samana Bay, where hundreds of the marine mammals come to mate and calve each year.
The whales come specifically to the Banco de la Plata and Navidad (northeast) marine mammal sanctuaries, whose ??total 12,700 square miles make it the Caribbean country’s largest protected area.
"As of next weekend thousands of tourists will have the opportunity to see up close the whales returning every year to the warm waters of the Atlantic," the Environment Ministry said in a statement.
On this occasion several official and non-governmental agencies agreed to protect the whales’ habitat by ensuring compliance with observation regulations, such as bolstering the vigilance and control systems, "without disrupting their normal reproductive activities.”
Environment said it will spend part of the proceeds on improving the Sanctuary’s management, whereas the Tourism Ministry will promote the activity as an environmentally sustainable ecotourism and assess the tourists’ levels of satisfaction.
Security will be provided by Navy patrols, for which only boats with Environment Ministry permits can conduct whale watching tours, and which don’t emit exhaust smoke, or have engine and other noises.