Accreditation and Sustainability – Why It’s Important When Choosing Marine Tours

Ningaloo Reef is one of the great wonders of the marine world. Ningaloo Marine Park is recognised as a World Heritage Listed area, and admired and revered not only for her breathtaking beauty, but also for the volume and variety of her remarkable inhabitants. As home to over 450 different species of marine life and 250 different species of coral, Ningaloo Reef has a thriving, yet fragile, ecosystem that deserves to be protected and respected.

Exploring Ningaloo Reef’ responsibly

The best way to enjoy, discover, and explore Ningaloo Reef’s unique seascapes and diverse natural assets is to join a marine tour. But as a responsible tourist faced with many different tour choices, how do you know which one to book? How can you tell which tour operators are committed to responsible and sustainable eco-tourism from those who don’t have the Reef’s interests and conservation at the forefront of their practices and values.

Thankfully, there’s a number of ways you can ensure the marine tour company you book through is a high standard operator, driven by ecological sustainability with a demonstrated track record of respecting the ocean, the reef, and all who live in it.

Eco Accreditation and Certification

An Eco accreditation or certification assures travellers that a tour operator’s services are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices, and provide high quality nature-based tourism experiences. When selecting a tour operator, look for a recognised Eco accreditation. This will ensure your tour operator is committed to:

  • Giving back to the environment that sustains them.
  • Conducting tours in an ethical manner while minimising their environmental footprint.
  • Educating guests on marine protection and issues that negatively the impact our reefs and oceans, such as recycling, rubbish, plastic, shark finning, and pollution.
  • Highlighting and raising awareness of the important role the ocean plays in the eco balance of the world, along with the many life forms that live in it.
  • Demonstrating responsible waste and resource management.

We’re proud of our Eco-Plus accreditation with Tourism Australia, and our memberships with conservation organisations, Australian Wildlife Journeys, Mission Deep Blue, and Longitude 181 Nature.

We also partner and collaborate with Project Manta, Wildbook for Whale Sharks, Centre for Whale Research Western Australia, Australian Parks & Wildlife Marine Research undertaking data collection for studies and research, working towards a common goal of Ningaloo Marine Park’s protection and sustainability.

Putting our money where our mouth is…

Our guardianship of the Reef extends to more than just raising awareness though. We’ve been committing our time and resources to Ningaloo’s biodiversity and sustainability since we dropped our very first anchor off the Exmouth coast twenty-five years ago.

Examples of this include our ongoing collaborative Whale Shark and Humpback Whale Study with Parks and Wildlife. We record the size, sex, habit, location, and effects of interaction of every whaleshark and humpback we encounter, using NASA technology to identify individuals by collecting pictures of the small dotted area behind the pectoral fin of whale sharks. These dots act as the fingerprint of the whaleshark. Dorsal fins and fluke patterns are used to identify humpback whales. The same technology is used for Project Manta, with underbelly shots of manta rays used for identification.

In addition to the time and resources we contribute to research, we also donate a portion of every tour booked to Parks and Wildlife to support their efforts. To date, our donations have exceeded $80,000!

Want to get hands on while on board? Take part in voluntourism!

Every Exmouth Dive and Whalesharks Ningaloo eco adventure tour is built around our responsibility to environmental and conservational practices, and we’re delighted to be able to offer our guests a way they can get involved with the ongoing protection of Ningaloo.

We encourage and offer our guests the opportunity to get involved with Citizen Science by assisting us in collecting research data. Simply opt in on the day, and you’ll get the chance to learn more about Ningaloo Reef while practicing your photographic skills by taking pictures of various marine creatures.

The photos you take will help in the collection of identification data. Sometimes it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time, so the more eyes in the water with cameras the better! Our Dive Masters are passionate ambassadors of the reef, and will be very happy to answer all your questions.

If you’re as committed to the protection of the ocean as we are, exercise responsible marine tourism. Seek out company’s that have a recognised Eco Tourism Accreditation, and take the time to research their standards when it comes to ethical and sustainable practices. You’ll have memories to last a lifetime with the assurance you’re not negatively impacting on the lifetime of any marine creatures!