Dominica Regulates Freediving with Sperm Whales as it Prioritizes Ecotourism

Home Trends Dominica Regulates Freediving with Sperm Whales as it Prioritizes Ecotourism
Dominica Regulates Freediving with Sperm Whales as it Prioritizes Ecotourism

LONDON—Dominica is one of the best places in the world to get responsibly close to the sperm whale and the island nation is a world leader in ecotourism, offering several activities in and out of the water. The Prime Minster, Roosevelt Skerrit, has publicly endorsed ecotourism as being an important part of the country’s economy.

This small Caribbean country has an established Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI), which plays a vital role in sponsoring ecotourist projects on the island. Professional Wealth Management specialists from the Financial Times rank Dominica as having the best second citizenship by investment program in the world, placing it first in the CBI Index. Under Dominica’s CBI Program, investors can either contribute to the island’s Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) or buy into selected real estate options, including new eco-luxury villas.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is known for driving Dominica’s green ethos further, pushing sustainability high up on his agenda. In a 2017 TV interview, he said that “Dominica is a very peaceful country […] that promotes ecotourism […] that prides itself on the conservation of the environment, a country with a rich history, and also […] one of the few countries in the Caribbean with an indigenous Kalinago population.” His famous pledge to make Dominica “the world’s first climate resilient nation” has already materialized into several green initiatives, such as the geothermal plant construction this year, partly funded by the aforementioned CBI Program.

One of the most exciting ecotourist opportunities in Dominica remains diving with sperm whales. Excursions for a maximum of six people cost up to £2,000 a day for the organizers and Dominica’s Fisheries Division offers just 10 licenses a year. To protect the whales, the number of divers at any one time must be strictly regulated. Sperm whales are friendly creatures and, as this video from the Financial Times shows, some sperm whales, especially females, will let humans swim right up close to them. They normally stick together in small family units or pods and mothers, daughters and granddaughters are said to stay side by side for life.

At least 300 sperm whales are thought to come and feed off the Dominican coast, while around 150 may call it their permanent home. The reason why this small Caribbean island renders high chances of spotting a sperm whale is due to the deep waters surrounding the island, which create favorable socializing, feeding and mating conditions.