Addressing key Threats to the whales of the Azores
The ocean Azores Foundation was set up to work to address key threats to the whales and cetaceans that exist in the waters of the Azores. With this in mind the foundation will look to projects that address these as a priority. Other projects for the community of the Azores will also be considered outside of this remit if deemed appropriate.
Threat 1: Lack of awareness
Threat 2: Declining whale numbers
Threat 3: Unsustainable tourism
WHALE HERITAGE SITE AZORES
Supporting The Whale Heritage Site (WHS) initiative. This is a certification programme established by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA). WHS are outstanding locations where cetaceans (whales, dolphins, or porpoises) are embraced through the cultural, economic, social, and political lives of associated communities, and where people and cetaceans coexist in an authentic and respectful way.
The Golfino Commission aims to support work to look into tourist activities such as swimming with dolphins and evaluate their impact on the cetacean population in the Azores. More details to follow as this project is developed.
SUSTAINABLE WHALE WATCHING
Changing and adapting to the challenges that an increase in tourism brings must be address in several areas. Our guide aims to inform and educate visitors about the Azores and the cetaceans that can be found here. The guide is a constant work in progress and we aim to update it frequently.
OCEAN AZORES MAP
This project is not quite ready for the full reveal. We are very excited and look forward to sharing details soon.
1 OCEANO: WHALE TRACKING APP
So little is known about these majestic creatures of the deep, as we see and know so little about these gentle giants of the ocean. It is unknown where they go as they travel the globe. Our aim is to track them without impact upon their lives.
TV | Documentary | Media Support
The Ocean Azores Foundation is proud to work with a number of individuals and organisations on filming and documentary projects around whales, dolphins and the eco system of the Azores.
Threat 1: Lack of awareness
RTP TV SHOW: OCEAN AZORES
The Ocean Azores Foundation is delighted to announce we have started an exciting project with Maria Andersen, who presents on RTP AÇORES. For this project she will interview for her TV show involved with the ocean that surrounds the Azores islands.
DOCUMENTARY: OXFORD UNIVERSITY
The Ocean Azores Foundation is working with a student from Oxford University on her master degree, looking into how whale hunting communities have moved to whale watching. This documentary also looks into the questions around sustainable whale watching and the challenges the industry faces as tourism increases. The film will be shown at outdoor film festivals and events in the UK as well as at the university in 2023.
DOCUMENTARY: finding physty
In 2021 The Foundation was proud to support Gaelin Rosenwaks in her project here in the Azores as part of her movie “Finding Physty.” Gaelin takes you on a journey to reconnect with these fabled giants, and reveal the incredible matrilineal bond between whales.
PLASTIC WASTE | GHOST NETS
Single use is plastic is everywhere. And when they are done, inevitably it will end up in the ocean. Up to 31% of plastic exported from Europe for recycling doesn’t end up being recycled, a new study estimates (source World Economic Forum). It is estimated that over 8 millions metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year (source: National Geographic.)
Threat 4: Plastic waste / marine pollution
Threat 5: Ghost nets
BEACH CLEAN-UP: TIDY SHARK
The first project that the Ocean Azores Foundation committed to. Working with the volunteer based group Tidy Shark who organise beach clean-ups on the island of São Miguel.
PASTIC REDUCTION AT FESTIVALS
The Ocean Azores Foundation is committed to see a complete ban on single use plastic in the Azores. This will be a decades long project with many steps to be completed. One of the first areas to be addressed is the huge waste of single use plastic and cups used at outdoor and beach festivals.
Entanglement in Fishing Gear and ghost netting is one of the most serious issues facing whales in the ocean. Whales are at high risk of becoming entangled in fishing gear. Once entangled, whales may drag and swim with attached gear for long distances or be anchored in place and unable to swim. Events such as these result in fatigue, and ultimately lead to death.