Depoe Bay Presentation Will Consider Whales and Watchers

November 21, 2015 - 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Depoe Bay Community Hall
220 SE Bay St
Depoe Bay, OR

Photo of Florence Van Tulder.
Florence Van Tulder.
The dining habits of gray whales, and the behavior of people who want to watch them, will be the topic when a graduate student discusses her research at the Depoe Bay Community Hall (220 S.E. Bay St.) on Saturday, Nov. 21, 3-5 p.m.

Florence van Tulder, a Master’s degree student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, will discuss her research on “fine-scale gray whale foraging strategies” and how disturbance from vessels, notably those that carry people wanting to watch the whales, may affect the whales’ behavior.  The event is billed as “a stakeholder discussion regarding ways to simultaneously promote Oregon whale watching opportunities and build a more sustainable industry through research and community implementation of vessel operation guidelines.”  Light refreshments will be provided.

Van Tulder will present preliminary results from a summer survey, and using examples from other whale watch organizations will discuss why vessel operations guidelines are important and how other communities have successfully incorporated them into their businesses.  Her research involved closely monitoring both whales and the vessels seeking them out in both Depoe Bay and Port Orford.  (Note that these are both marine reserve areas—the Otter Rock and Redfish Rocks marine reserves, respectively—and thus that her research is particularly relevant to studies of these protected areas.)

The goal is to “work with local communities, stakeholders and whale watch operators to create sustainable, scientifically informed guidelines for vessel operations in the presence of gray whales.”  Her hope is that by developing and advertising sustainable whale watch practices, we will be able to attract even more eco-tourism revenue to the region.  Come ready to share your perspective and ideas. We plan to host follow-up meetings in the spring where we will continue to discuss our results and work together toward increased sustainability and business.

For more information, contact Florence van Tulder at [email protected].