To support both whales and the environment, the government of Dominica has increased protections for sperm whales by introducing the first-ever whale reserve just off the western side of the Caribbean, spanning just under 800 square kilometers. Across this large area, protections and measures will be put in place to support the local sperm whale population and help them to thrive, which in turn, should help the climate and surrounding biodiversity.
As part of the new reserve, ships will have to use "designated corridors" to reduce any negative impact on the sperm whales in the area, such as excess noise, any chance of them getting tangled in any ship equipment (which costs whales and the shippers themselves), or ship strikes, as well as enforcing stricter regulations for visitors who want to take a look at them.
Kristin Rechberger, the CEO of Dynamic Planet stated: “Dominica has the opportunity to show the world how to reconcile marine conservation with responsible use of the sea. A well-designed and regulated whale tourism operation can bring in economic revenue to offset the direct costs of managing and enforcing the reserve – and bring additional benefits to Dominica’s people."
It is hoped that the new reserve will help reduce carbon emissions by up to 4200 metric tons a year, which would be made possible via how the whales indirectly interact with sea plankton. For example, when a whale defecates, it can attract a high number of plankton which soak up high levels of carbon dioxide from the area, taking it down to the bottom of the sea with them when they die.
Asides from Dominica introducing new measures to protect sperm whales, other parts of the world are also taking action, such as Iceland, who is planning to ban whaling in the next two years, alongside the implementation of a High Seas Treaty, which aims to protect up to 30% of our oceans and marine life.