NINGALOO WHALESHARK-N-DIVE IS ECO CERTIFIED UNDER THE ECO CERTIFICATION PROGRAM WHICH IS ADMINISTERED BY ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA

WHAT IS ECO TOURISM?

Ecotourism is defined under the Eco Certification Program as: “Ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.”

WHAT IS INVOLVED TO BECOME ECO TOURISM ACCREDITED?

To gain Eco Certification a rigorous process of self assessment is required to ensure we have met specific criteria which address the principle of ecotourism; this is then verified by an independent assessor from Ecotourism Australia before an independent on-site audit of our operations is undertaken within the 3 year life of the program. This involved satisfying the criteria for :

ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

  • Business management and operational planning
  • Business ethics
  • Responsible marketing
  • Customer satisfaction

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

  • Natural area focus
  • Environmental management
  • Interpretation and education

SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

  • Contribution to conservation
  • Working with local communities; and
  • Cultural respect and sensitivity

The accreditation program is designed to identify genuine Ecotourism operators within Australia and give guests an assurance that the operators have a commitment to ecological sustainability and provide a quality Ecotourism experience.

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONAL PLANNING

We have sound management and operational planning, which include documented Business, Marketing, Financial, Advertising, Maintenance and Risk Managements plans as well as fulfilling the criteria for legal compliance.

Business Ethics

Our ethical business practices include commitments to natural area management, best practice environmental sustainability and the provision of environmentally sound experiences.

Responsible Marketing

All our marketing is accurate and presents realistic expectations through our brochures and web site.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Guests are encouraged to make comments in our guest book and a customer satisfaction form is available to make further comments. This feedback is acted upon where practical

NATURAL AREA FOCUS

Presenting the attributes of the region which includes protected areas within the Ningaloo Marine Park and Cape Rage National Park

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Ningaloo Whaleshark-n-Dive are committed to protecting the marine environment of the Ningaloo Marine Park by ensuring that all staff are trained to promote good reef etiquette, which includes:

  • Take only photos, leave only bubbles
  • No removal of anything natural from the sea
  • No pollution of the environment
  • Maintain a respectful distance from marine animals
  • Highlight the fragility of the reef ecosystem
  • Where possible DePaW mooring bouys are used, where this is not feasible a patch of bare sand a suitable distance from sensitive habitats is used to weight anchor.

We promote energy efficiency within the business through the turning off of lights, electrical equipment when not in use and maintenance of machinery, vehicles and boats so that they operate at optimal efficiency.

Recycling of aluminum cans is done through council facilities, but at this point there are no other facilities for recycling in Exmouth. We will continue to monitor council for recycling programs. All food is purchased in bulk to minimize packaging.

We try and use biodegradable, low nutrient detergents and cleaning products where available.

We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and will continue to implement measures to reduce the use of energy, water and fuel.

INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION

The specially trained crew provides expert commentary to visitors. Ningaloo Whaleshark-n-Dive is committed to educating clients by providing them with interesting and educational information on the local environment, flora and fauna and Indigenous culture.

Clients are also given information about the history of Ningaloo Reef, including the conservation and restoration of the natural environment, the protection of flora and fauna and Indigenous culture, and the preservation of any feature of archaeological, historic or scientific interest. The need to protect this environment by appropriate behaviour and controlled tourism is communicated.

CONTRIBUTION TO CONSERVATION

Ningaloo Whaleshark-n-Dive has cooperated and assisted organizations that undertake research and management of systems at Ningaloo Marine Park, in particular whaleshark research. We have been involved with the “Join the Dots” program aimed at identifying the whalesharks as well as photographing whale sharks. We have on numerous occasions taken Brad Norman and his support staff out for research projects. Recently we were involved with Mark Meakin from the James Cook University and 60 Minutes to raise awareness of the threat to whale shark numbers. This program will air later this year Ningaloo Whaleshark-n-Dive is an active member of the Whaleshark Association of Western Australia.

In particular key personnel involved in Ningaloo Whaleshark-n-Dive have worked cooperatively with DePaW in Exmouth for several years. We support the levying of marine tours to fund scientific research undertaken by DePaW in the marine environment in the Exmouth region.

 

Working with local communities

We have a strong commitment to support local business, the local community, sporting clubs, other operators, government departments and schools. Where possible 100% of all supplies and services are supplied by local business.

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Ningaloo Whaleshark-n-Dive is continuously researching options to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions.

As an effective action we integrated solar photovoltaic panels in the electricity production aboard our vessel ‘Aliikai’. Our vessel has deployed 2 x PV panels rated at 180W at STC to offset on-board electricity production via a 4JG2 Isuzu naturally aspirated diesel engine directly driving a 39KVA alternator.

The solar photovoltaic panels are controlled by an MPPT charger and store energy continuously in day light hours in deep cycle batteries – even when the vessel is on standby at its mooring.

As a benefit of this the GenSet has to run less hours during a day, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on the Ningaloo Reef.

‘Reliable energy solutions’ rated the daily energy production of our solar photovoltaic panels as follows:

 

Rating month:                                   March 2016
De rating applied to PV panels:        25% (dirt, angle and season)
De rated total PV panel capacity:     270W
March useable solar hours1:           10
Daily energy production from PV:     2.7kW