Since 2001 we have been supporting the MEER La Gomera project. The waters of La Gomera and the Canary Islands are –still– among the world’s regions with the highest diversity in whales and dolphins.
29 species have been documented, some of which can be regularly observed. To the marine mammals, however, this is not necessarily a pleasure.
Mass whale watching (like off Tenerife), collisions with speed ferries, overfishing, and marine pollution increasingly threaten the cetaceans’ lives and habitats. The waters around the Canaries urgently need to be protected from overexploitation. And this is where the M.E.E.R. La Gomera project sets in.
Apart from studying the human impacts on the cetaceans off La Gomera and developing responsible and sustainable whale-watching regulations, MEER is focusing its efforts also on developing protection schemes. Each spring and fall MEER additionally offers practical courses in ethology.
MEER’s basic research has substantially contributed to the fact that the waters of the Canary islands are now internationally recognized as deserving protection. MEER stands out among European organizations for their expertise on "collisions between ships and whales". MEER is currently preparing a report for the Governments of the Canaries and Spain to show how a marine protected area off La Gomera might be implemented.
MEER’s 15-year research has also revealed long-time trends suggesting a decline in several species. Injured, ill, or emaciated individuals have been observed increasingly often. This shows the necessity of continuing and supporting this project.
In 2008, our partners of MEER e.V. achieved one of their major objectives: providing a center where both locals and tourists alike can learn more about the great diversity of whales and dolphins.
The permanent exhibit "Whales and Dolphins off La Gomera – Changing Species Diversity" is housed in the rooms of OCEANO Gomera, a responsible whale watching operator located in the Valle Gran Rey on the Canary island of La Gomera.
The three-language exhibit (Spanish, German, and English) provides information on whale watching; highlights the threats faced by cetaceans; and explains the importance of the Canaries as a habitat for marine mammals. Moreover, MEER e.V. present the results of their on-going research.
Maybe the most important section is about what every one of us can do to protect the oceans and their inhabitants.