Is Dolphin-Watching Sustainable in Bocas del Toro, Panama




Sitar, Ashley Scarlett Marie

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Due to concerns of unsustainable dolphin watching tourism in Bocas del Toro, and the increase in dolphin mortality in Bocas due to dolphin watching boat collisions research was conducted in the summer of 2013, to evaluate the severity of the situation, and to assess the tourists and boat operators’ level of concern for dolphin and environmental conservation. This project examined whether dolphin watching was negatively disrupting dolphin behaviors, and whether dolphin watching operators were following Panama’s dolphin watching regulations. This project provides informative data to assist with the establishment of more stringent dolphin watching management and enforcement, and it is hoped it will assist with the establishment of Marine Protected Areas that include important habitat for the bottlenose dolphin population in Bocas del Toro.



Environmental science, Recreation and tourism, Sustainability, Behavioral effects, Boat operators, Bottlenose dolphins, Dolphin watching, Tourist satisfaction, Whale watching