Parliament approves regulations to control whale watching expeditions

By Saman Indrajith

Parliament yesterday approved regulations under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance to impose strict guidelines for those engaged in operating whale and dolphin watching expeditions in the country.

Deputy Minister of Wild Life and Agrarian Services S. M. Chandrasena, who introduced the regulations, said that the rapid increase in tourist arrivals had necessitated guidelines to be followed by tour operators so that the fauna and fora would not be harmed.

The regulations cited as Sea Mammals (Observation, Regulation and Control) Regulations will apply to owners and operators of vessels, the crew as well as passengers.

Henceforth, tour operators will be required to obtain an annual licence and it will be mandatory to obtain insurance for vessels and passengers. The regulations also cover areas such as life-aving equipment, fees to be levied, and guidelines for conduct when mammals are sighted.

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