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1.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems ; 32(10 p.1660-1674):1660-1674, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2313411

ABSTRACT

Before the 2020 COVID‐19 pandemic, cruise ship tourism had been one of the fastest growing segments of global tourism, presenting a range of potential impacts. At Akaroa Harbour, Aotearoa New Zealand, the number of annual cruise ship visits more than quadrupled following earthquake damage to Ōtautahi Christchurch's Lyttelton Port in 2011. Akaroa Harbour is an area of core use for endangered and endemic Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori). Dolphins here are exposed to some of the highest levels of cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Relationships were examined between growth in cruise ship visits, as well as tours focused specifically on dolphins, and long‐term trends in summer distribution of Hector's dolphins at Akaroa Harbour, from 2000 to 2020. Core use areas for Hector's dolphins within the harbour were quantified via kernel density estimation using data from 2,335 sightings from over 8,000 km of standardized survey effort. Data were allocated into four periods based on varying levels of tourism. Dolphin habitat preference varied over time, with the greatest change occurring between 2005–2011 and 2012–2015. When comparing these periods, the spatial overlap of core habitat was less than 24%. Dolphin distribution shifted towards the outer harbour after 2011 and has remained relatively consistent since. The observed shift in distribution coincided with the more than fourfold increase in annual cruise ship visits to Akaroa Harbour. Several pressures related to cruise ship tourism are likely to have influenced habitat preferences of dolphins. Further investigation into causal factors of the observed shift is warranted. In the wake of the COVID‐19 pandemic, the future of cruise ship and wildlife tourism is in flux. Our findings suggest that the future re‐development of this industry should follow a precautionary approach, with the onus on industry to provide evidence of sustainability before proceeding.

2.
Marine Mammal Science ; 39(2):626-647, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2292939

ABSTRACT

Cetacean tourism and vessel traffic have grown considerably around the world in recent decades. At Akaroa Harbor, Aotearoa New Zealand, recreational vessel traffic, dolphin tourism, and cruise ship presence increased substantially between 2008 and 2020. We examined the relationship between vessel traffic parameters and the presence of Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) during the austral summer 2019–2020, using automated vessel tracking and autonomous passive acoustic monitoring. Data were collected between December 2019 and May 2020, including the entirety of the first COVID‐19 nationwide lockdown. Generalized additive models revealed that increasing levels of motor vessel traffic, the presence of cruise ships, and high levels of dolphin tour vessel traffic resulted in decreases in acoustic detections of dolphins. Our findings suggest that Hector's dolphins at Akaroa Harbor were displaced from core habitat in response to each of these vessel traffic parameters. We recommend that managers use immediately actionable tools to reduce the impacts of vessels on these dolphins.

3.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems ; 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2041200

ABSTRACT

1. Before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, cruise ship tourism had been one of the fastest growing segments of global tourism, presenting a range of potential impacts. At Akaroa Harbour, Aotearoa New Zealand, the number of annual cruise ship visits more than quadrupled following earthquake damage to Otautahi Christchurch's Lyttelton Port in 2011. Akaroa Harbour is an area of core use for endangered and endemic Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori). Dolphins here are exposed to some of the highest levels of cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand. 2. Relationships were examined between growth in cruise ship visits, as well as tours focused specifically on dolphins, and long-term trends in summer distribution of Hector's dolphins at Akaroa Harbour, from 2000 to 2020. Core use areas for Hector's dolphins within the harbour were quantified via kernel density estimation using data from 2,335 sightings from over 8,000 km of standardized survey effort. Data were allocated into four periods based on varying levels of tourism. 3. Dolphin habitat preference varied over time, with the greatest change occurring between 2005-2011 and 2012-2015. When comparing these periods, the spatial overlap of core habitat was less than 24%. Dolphin distribution shifted towards the outer harbour after 2011 and has remained relatively consistent since. 4. The observed shift in distribution coincided with the more than fourfold increase in annual cruise ship visits to Akaroa Harbour. Several pressures related to cruise ship tourism are likely to have influenced habitat preferences of dolphins. Further investigation into causal factors of the observed shift is warranted. 5. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of cruise ship and wildlife tourism is in flux. Our findings suggest that the future re-development of this industry should follow a precautionary approach, with the onus on industry to provide evidence of sustainability before proceeding.

4.
Frontiers in Marine Science ; 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1081639

ABSTRACT

Cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand is now over 30 years old and has experienced substantial growth in visitor numbers and operations. The industry is remarkably diverse, targeting several dolphin and whale species, and encompassing varied habitats in coastal waters, fiords and submarine canyons. The knowledge and experience collected over these past 30 years has both advanced the global understanding of cetacean tourism, and influenced scientific practices for its study and management. Here we review the approaches taken in quantifying the impact of cetacean tourism in New Zealand, and critically assess the efficacy of the research and management strategies adopted. We place particular focus on the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf, Kaikōura, Akaroa and Fiordland, areas that include the oldest and longest studied industries nationally. We propose a set of best research practices, expose the most notable knowledge gaps and identify emerging research questions. Drawing on perspectives from the natural and social sciences, we outline the key determinants of failure and success in protecting cetacean populations from the detrimental impact of tourism. We suggest four golden rules for future management efforts: 1) acknowledge cetacean tourism as a sub-lethal anthropogenic stressor to be managed with precaution, 2) apply integrated and adaptive site- and species-specific approaches, 3) fully conceptualize tourism within its broader social and ecological contexts, and 4) establish authentic collaborations and engagement with the local community. Lastly, we forecast upcoming challenges and opportunities for research and management of this industry in the context of global climate change. Despite New Zealand’s early establishment of precautionary legislation and advanced tourism research and management approaches, we detected flaws in current schemes, and emphasize the need for more adaptive and comprehensive strategies. Cetacean tourism remains an ongoing challenge in New Zealand and globally.

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