The Whale-Watching Web: A Case Study in Patagonia, Argentina

Conference Session:
International Perspectives
Whale Watching

Patagonia Argentina
Ricardo Daniel Orri/Whale watcher guide
Diana Visintini /Argentine tour guide -
July 1995

Conference abstract : A Case Study in Patagonia

by Ricardo Daniel Orri: whale watcher quide in Patagonia Argentina; was born in Buenos Aires 
and has worked for 20 years as professional diver.

In Patagonia Argentina; the WW takes place in Peninsula Valdes area, with departures from Puerto Piramide, - a 90 residents village-, in the Northeast of Golfo Nuevo.

Every year several hundreds animals of eubalaena australis come to the spot for mating and breeding their calves, staying for nearly eight months.

The Industry sees its formal development in the 80s, when rules setting order, conservation and protection to the Southern Right Whale and its habitat were issued.

A remarkable feature is that the animals get close to the coast. Though this might seem an advantage, the operating of the activity is related to the geographical characteristics like : weather changing during the same day and tide difference, as well as lack of built pier to get passengers aboard, thus creating alternative solutions to bridge the gap. There is a pre-established number of licences - permits -, and vessels; the whale watcher guides must also hold a professional licence.

To get to the departure spot, it is necessary to enter Peninsula Valdes Integral Reserve where an Interpretation Center offers educational programmes for visitors. The WW has given to the region a growing economical development and has bettered its quality of life.

A lacking cooparticipative programme by Government, Science and Industry makes a few people feel doubtful about real benefits of whale watching, in the long run.

Note: In Argentina it in not used the word industry. We understand it is the commercial, or business side of WW.

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Rauno Lauhakangas