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24 "IF JUST 5 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR GENERATED FROM WHALE WATCHING WENT TOWARDS ACTUAL WHALE RESEARCH, $500,000 WOULD BE AVAILABLE..." Advertising that a portion of whale watching profits go towards supporting humpback whale research is a genius marketing strategy, but be wary of how much and to whom your money goes. Humpback whales are still considered endangered and are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Researchers who wish to approach humpback whales closer than the 100 yards allowable by law must apply for both a federal and state research permit. Fewer than a half-dozen organizations possessing research permits work out of Maui each year. My name is Lee James and I own Ultimate Whale Watch, a Maui based whale watch operation, and I want you to be a wiser consumer. A 1999 study by the US Department of Commerce reported direct revenues from whale watching on Maui were in excess of $6,000,000 with a total economic impact of more than $10,000,000. If just 5 cents of every dollar generated from whale watching went towards actual whale research, $500,000 would be available each year for research. Yet more and more whale researchers in Maui are either shortening their field season or forfeiting it all together due to insufficient funding. That should give you an idea about how your whale watch dollars are not being spent. How does Ultimate Whale Watch support the humpback whales? We provide financial support to whale researchers who are publishing legitimate science. We also provide resource support, such as boats and volunteers, to assist with research. Ultimate Whale Watch's staff works closely with the Hawaii Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, as first responders, to quickly attend to any reported entangled humpback whales. We are a very small mom-and-pop operation, but take extra care to give back to the whales in ways that benefit them most. So the next time you are about to pay for a whale watch that claims to support whale research, do your due diligence; ask for published scientific papers that acknowledge their funding sources, get an endorsement from a legitimate whale researcher, or simply donate to the whale researchers directly. You can find contact information for many legitimate researchers on our website. Here's a list of some of them whom you can contribute to directly, and the research they have published. Please contact them at the websites provided below. Truth in Advertising HUMPBACK RESEARCH The Real Deal Robin Baird Cascadia Research Collective Toothed Whales and Dolphins Contact: CascadiaResearch.org Dr. Rachel Cartwright The Keiki Kohola Project Protecting Humpback Habitats Contact: CaringForCalves.org Mark Deakos HI. Assn. for Marine Education & Research Marine Resources & Policy Contact: HAMERinHawaii.com Dr. Meagan Jones Whale Trust Maui Whale Research & Awareness Contact: WhaleTrust.org Note: On July 18, 2012, one of Maui's most celebrated researchers for over 34 years, Dr. Dan R. Salden, passed away. He will be missed by all. Photo Rachel Finn, HIHWNMS/NOAA Fisheries MMHSRP Permit #932-1905 Lee James with Ed Lyman detangling a whale. Our Ultimate Goals GOAL #1 Rescuing Whales Ultimate Whale Watch's Whale Rescue Unit continues to assist NOAA, resulting in dramatically enhanced favorable outcomes for entangled whales in the West Maui area. Great success on this! GOAL #2 Designing Mammal Propeller Guards This will decrease the chance of whales getting propped by small craft. Easily installed, affordable, and does not decrease vessel speed. Getting closer to success every day! GOAL #3 Developing Acoustic Observation Tags Takes video when whales vocalize, providing for a better understanding of the relationship between whale sounds and behavior. Still in the development stage! This informational page is sponsored by Ultimate Whale Watch. The Big Hustle "Donating directly to a whale watch company is a bad idea. Research donations are valuable funds that are needed for legitimate research, not assets to benefit a whale watch company." - Lee James

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