Guidelines and regulations

Guideline Documents

In 2012 Dr. Carole Carson compiled English translations of whale watching guidelines from  over 50 countries and local or regional organisations around the globe.  This IWC-sponsored compendium has been a valuable resource to managers around the world, and can be downloaded here.   A number of the guidelines published in the 2012 compendium have been updated, and the table below provides direct links to whale watching regulations and guidelines from various countries, territories, and regional networks.  Please contact the site administrator ( if you note any documents that are out of date or faulty links.

Title Country / Organisation Download
ACCOBAMS_MOP4_Res.4.7- Guidelines for commercial cetacean watching in the ACCOBAMS Area Italy France (Mainland and Overseas) Download ↓
ACCOBAMS_MOP6_Res6.20- Commercial cetacean watching in the ACCOBAMS area ACCOBAMS- The Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area Download ↓
Antarctic_IAATO Cetacean Watching Guidelines Antarctica Download ↓
Arctic_Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators-Cetacean Guidelines Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators Download ↓
Argentina_ WW Regulations for the Rio Negro Province Argentina Download ↓
Argentina_Ley No 5714 WW Regulations for the Chubut Province_Spanish Argentina Download ↓
Argentina_WW Regulations for the Chubut Province Argentina Download ↓
Australia_Great Barrier Reef Swim with Minke Whale_Code_of_Practice Australia Download ↓
Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching 2017 Australia Download ↓
Brazil_English translation of guidelines from 2012 IWC Compendium Brazil Download ↓
Brazil_Portaria_ibama_117_1996_Regulations to protect cetaceans from harassment (Portuguese) Brazil Download ↓
Caribbean_ Overarching Principles and Best Practice Guidelines for Marine Mammal Watching in the Wider Caribbean Region Dominican Republic Download ↓
Chile Regulations for the observation of mammals, reptiles and birds and the cetacean sighting record Download ↓
Colombia_English translation of guidelines from the 2012 IWC Compendium Colombia Download ↓
Colombia_National Guidelines for watching Marine mammals (Spanish) Colombia Download ↓
Dominican Republic_English Translation from 2012 IWC Compendium Guidelines Dominican Republic Download ↓
Egypt_HEPCA Code of Conduct dolphin approach and dolphin swim Egypt Download ↓
France-Charter for marine mammal observation in Guadeloupe (French) France (Mainland and Overseas) Download ↓
France-Charter for marine mammal observation in Martinique (French) France (Mainland and Overseas) Download ↓
France-Regulation for marine mammal watching in Mayotte (French) France (Mainland and Overseas) Download ↓
France-Regulation for nautical activities in Martinique_Guadeloupe-St Barthelemy and St Martin (French) France (Mainland and Overseas) Download ↓
France-tour operators charter for marine mammal watching in Mayotte (French) France (Mainland and Overseas) Download ↓
Gabon_Responsible whale observation Poster_WCS Gabon Download ↓
Greenland_whale watching guidelines_English_Danish Download ↓
Iceland_IceWhale-CoC-OperatorsManual Iceland Download ↓
Ireland_Marine Notice No 15 of 2005_Guidelines for correct procedures when encountering whales and dolphins Ireland Download ↓
IWC 2012 Carole Carson Compendium of whale watching Regulations (English) International Whaling Commission Download ↓
Kenya_Code of conduct Kisite-Mpunguti MPA Kenya Download ↓
Mexico_National Whale Watching Guidelines- NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 (Spanish) Mexico Download ↓
Mexico- Loreto Bay Blue Whale Group passive whale watching (Spanish) Mexico Download ↓
New Zealand Marine Mammals Protection Regulations 1992 New Zealand Download ↓
New Zealand Marine Mammals Protection Regulations 2008 Amendment New Zealand Download ↓
New Zealand marine-mammal-rules-for-social-media New Zealand Download ↓
Norway_Norwhale National Guidelines PosterA2 Norway Download ↓
Norway_Norwhale whale watching Brochure (English and Norwegian) Norway Download ↓
Norway_whale watching guidelines_A4 summary for web Norway Download ↓
Pacific Regional Guidelines for Whale & Dolphin Watching_2008 SPREP - Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme Download ↓
Panama_English translation of 2007 regulations from 2012 IWC Compendium Panama Download ↓
Panama_National Whale watching regulations -DM 0530_2017 (Spanish) Panama Download ↓
Pelagos Sanctuary- Code of Conduct for whale watching (English) France (Mainland and Overseas) Italy Download ↓
Portugal_ Azores_Guidelines 2005_Portaria N 52004_Portuguese Portugal Download ↓
Portugal_2018 Summary of whale and dolphin watching guidelines for areas under Portuguese Jurisdiction (English) Portugal Download ↓
Portugal_Cetacean Observation Law Decreto-Lei n.o 92006 (Portuguese) Portugal Download ↓
Reunion charter for responsible viewing of marine mammals and turtles (French) France (Mainland and Overseas) Download ↓
South Africa_ 2017 TOPS Marine Species Regulations South Africa Download ↓
South Africa_MARINE LIVING RESOURCES ACT, 1998 (ACT NO. 18 OF 1998)_2008 Update South Africa Download ↓
South Africa_MARINE LIVING RESOURCES ACT, 1998 (ACT NO. 18 OF 1998)_2017 draft South Africa Download ↓
South Africa_Standards for Whale watching vessels South Africa Download ↓
Spain Royal Decree 1727_2007 establishing protection measures for cetaceans Spain Download ↓
Spain_Canary Islands Decree 178_2000 - regulation of WW in Canary Islands_Spanish Spain Download ↓
Spain_Canary Islands Translated summary of regulations - Spanish, German, English (MEER) Spain Download ↓
Sri Lanka_Sea Mammals (Observation, Regulation and Control) Regulations 2012 Sri Lanka Download ↓
Tonga_2013 Whale Watching and Swimming Regulations English Tonga Download ↓
United Kingdom Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007 United Kingdom Download ↓
United Kingdom_Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 United Kingdom Download ↓
United Kingdom_Scottish Guide to best practice for marine wildlife watching United Kingdom Download ↓
United States Marine Mammal Protection Act (downloaded August 2017) United States of America Download ↓
United States_NOAA summary of approach regulations from MMPA United States of America Download ↓

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