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Our ethical principles

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A stay with Espaço Talassa in the Azores offers you an adventure far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Discover a new sense of time. Immerse yourself in a foreign culture and experience fascinating encounters with dolphins and whales.
 
Our presence can also disturb the harmony of the sea and its inhabitants, as well as the tranquility of the Azorean culture. With this charter, we at Espaço Talassa undertake to keep our influence as low as possible and to make a personal contribution to the preservation of local culture and nature. All we want to leave behind are the white waves behind our boat ... By respecting the people we meet, by understanding and protecting what we observe, you and we together not only lead to success Course of your trip, but also to the permanent development of tourism in the Azores.
Decreto-leis: 99/9-A (Azorean Law, in Portuguese) Decreto do Presidente da Republica: n. ° 20Decreto Legislativo Regional: n. ° 13Portaria n. ° 5 2004 de 29 de JaneiroPortaria n. ° 17 2007 de 29 de MarcoPortaria n. ° 49 2004 de 24 de Junho de 2004Portaria n. ° 70 2005 de 8 de Setembro de 2005 Rectificacoes 107 2004

Before the trip:

* You have several options to find out more about the animals we will observe:

  • We make our library, video library and website available to you, as well as our statistics and research work since 1993.
  • Before each trip we give an approximately 30-minute introduction to the world of the cetaceans (whales and dolphins) of the Azorean sea (habitat, communication, behavior ...)
  • On board and ashore, our biologists are available to provide explanations and answer specific questions.

Handling the animals:

We are guests of the whales !!! The animals' reaction to our presence determines our behavior and determines whether we can stay with them or not.

* Before approaching the animals, let's make sure:

  • which whale species it is (each species reacts differently to the presence of the boat)
  • whether there are young animals in the group
  • what the animals are doing at that moment (eat, swim, flee ...)

* Every observation has its own course, but in general we observe the following rules:

  • We approach the whale at approximately an acute angle from behind at a constant and reduced speed.
  • We always keep a minimum distance of 50 meters.
  • We never take the boat between a mother and her cub.
  • We avoid the presence of multiple boats within 150 meters of a group of animals. In the event that it does happen, we don't circle the animals, but group ourselves on the same side next to the animal group.
  • We don't stay with the same animal for more than 10 minutes.
  • We slowly move away from the group of animals and only increase our speed when we are about 300 meters away from them.
  • We never try to pet or feed an animal.
We believe that information and expertise help protect cetaceans (whales and dolphins). In some cases we may not be able to comply 100% with some of these rules in our research or when taking photos on the surface or underwater. In any case, non-compliance with these rules is an exception if no other technical solution can be found. We keep the frequency of such exceptions and the disturbance of the animals as low as possible.

Please note the following during your stay:

  • Do not make hasty and prejudiced judgments about a people whose culture is shaped by a whaling tradition dating back more than 150 years.
  • Please wear appropriate clothing in the village and do not change (diving suit, swimwear, etc.) in public places (port, quay wall ...), but use the facilities of Espaço Talassa.
  • Do not take photos of people without first asking for their consent.
  • Try "Thank you", "Hello", "How are you?" etc. to say in Portuguese. This simple gesture is very much appreciated by the locals and you will be thanked with a smile and courtesy.
  • Tips or gifts are the reward for good service. However, they are by no means mandatory and should in any case be based on the prevailing wage level (the average monthly wage is € 600).

Handicrafts, souvenirs:

Categorically refuse to buy items that come from the animals we have observed (ivory, bones ...) or that have been "robbed" from the sea in any other way. In the Azores you will be offered items made of bones or ivory from whales without a registration number, as well as dolphin teeth, turtle shells, clams, teeth from sharks, etc. CITES (an organization that oversees the international trade in endangered animals and plants) sells them Objects expressly prohibited. The European Community, to which the Azores belong, has ratified this agreement (Regional Decree 95/81 and Legal Decree 316/89). Espaço Talassa has two goals in this area:
  • Educating visitors about the dangers of the ivory trade: ivory is the only part of the sperm whale with commercial value, and this is exactly the argument that proponents of whale hunting use. Buying ivory therefore means supporting whale hunting.
  • Supporting local handicrafts that make items from alternative materials such as wood, stone and vegetable ivory.

Together we can achieve more:

Espaço Talassa undertakes to donate 2% of the income from sea excursions (around EUR 0.90 per ticket) to the Espaço Talassa association, founded in 2003, which pursues the following goals:
  • The various types of pollution and the overfishing of the waters by industrial fisheries are contributing to the extinction of the seas. On the one hand we have to fight against these dangers and on the other hand we have to create nature reserves in the sea where the cetaceans can live undisturbed and reproduce.
  • In order to avoid the damaging effects on the environment that can be caused by excessive tourism, Espaço Talassa, together with the University of the Azores and the Azorean government, has been promoting regional regulation of whale watching activities since 1992.
  • In order to ensure the implementation of these new regulations (Regional Ordinance No. 99/9 / A), we are convinced that an independent body must be created that is committed to the research and protection of the marine mammals of the Azores. Such an institution would be the first step towards establishing a marine reserve in the Azores.
  • The creation of such a marine reserve in the middle of the Atlantic would be a sign that it was really recognized how sensitive and in need of protection are the largest mammals on our planet, as well as the people who inhabit it.
  • That is the goal to be pursued. There is still a long way to go - you as travelers and we as travel agents - have to come together to achieve this goal.
  • Espaço Talassa makes every effort to follow and implement these principles, which are based on a travel philosophy. Acceptance of these principles is a condition for participating in the activities of Espaço Talassa. It can happen that the guide asks you to change certain behavior for safety reasons or out of consideration for people and animals.
  • Our joint ventures with you should also help us to make progress. So please write us your impressions and comments: We look forward to your praise and criticism and your constructive suggestions for improvement.