24 Oct 2018

Having a whale of a time!

Posted in: Toitū Together


Having a whale of a time!

Did you know you can see some of the world’s largest marine mammals in Auckland’s backyard?

Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari is New Zealand’s only whale and dolphin watch that operates directly from a city. Established in 2000, they have had more than 150,000 passengers through their doors, including the Enviro-Mark Solutions team, who sailed the Hauraki Gulf on a recent sunny Auckland day.

During the Enviro-Mark teams’ trip, they saw dolphins and a whale – alongside other unusual marine creatures. “The huge purple jellyfish… dreeeeamy!!!” says Chris Bailey, Enviro-Mark Solutions Senior Environmental Advisor.

Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari are committed to spreading the word about the beauty and diversity of marine life, and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

They have embedded sustainability into their business practice, and have been in the Enviro-Mark Programme since early 2018, achieving Bronze certification in July this year.

“Auckland Whale and Dolphin have a somewhat unique situation with both land -based and maritime activities, so their environmental effects are extremely varied”, says Chris.

“Added to this, they provide super-cool experiences to their clients and undertake harbour-based research adding to scientific understanding of Waitemata Harbour’s unique flora and fauna”.

The company decided to seek Enviro-Mark certification to develop a more consistent and measurable approach around their commitment to sustainability.

“Being a positive contributor to the environment has always been at the absolute core of our mindset”, says CEO Brad Kirner.

“Our original mission statement 'the preservation of species and environment through research, education and awareness' is more relevant than ever, and now forms a large part of our unique market positioning.  Our previous ad-hoc, self-governed approach to sustainability no longer cut the mustard - we needed to develop a more robust approach, which is where the Enviro-Mark team have helped us enormously”.

Auckland Whale and Dolphin have also established a long-term marine mammal sightings database, which contributes to the Department of Conservation’s National Sightings Database and helps determine population sizes, breeding patterns and movement patterns.

“In contributing to harbour based research, they educate their clients as to environmental issues and help inform regional and national policy decisions!” says Chris.

“They are a real example of environmental heroes, pushing the boundaries for best practice environmental improvement.”

Top three tips on what you can do to help preserve our marine ecosystem:

  1. Reduce, reuse and recycle! Every year around 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our ocean. Reduce your use of plastics, recycle your plastics responsibly, and replace single use plastics with reusable products like cloth bags or glass jars.
  2. Calculate your individual carbon emissions with our handy household calculator and consider ways you could reduce your footprint. The increase in carbon in the atmosphere is contributing to the warming and acidification of our oceans. Every little bit helps!
  3. Participate in a beach clean-up. The Enviro-Mark Solutions team cleaned up 30 litres of rubbish from the Viaduct Harbour in only an hour, which could have otherwise ended up in the harbour.