What we learn today, tomorrow we will apply it
One of the most important tasks is the scientific department, with a permanent researcher who leads the projects that are carried out with university students and master's degree students who are carrying out their thesis. It is worth highlighting the more than 50 papers presented at the different congresses of the ECS (European Cetacean Society), SMM (Society for Marine Mammalogy) and IWC (International Whaling Commission) in the last 10 years, which are added to 7 Master's theses in agreement with important Spanish Universities and 2 PhD papers. This large number of publications is due to an even greater number of sightings, as the company has been collecting data since 2003 (with more than a thousand useful sightings of common pilot whales for example).
Environmental education and awareness are growing values in the company. We have prepared different didactic units to be given in schools and institutes, to whom we also give talks supported by audiovisual presentation prior to boarding. In addition to all this, there is an online marketing campaign based on the concepts of environmental responsibility and conservation, especially aimed at cetaceans and their habitats.
The company is committed to the development of the sector and good practices for the activity related to social and environmental responsibility. With this aim in mind, it actively participates in various forums, working groups and associations with this objective, among which the WCA (World Cetacean Alliance), ASACETA, the Andalusian Ecotourism Association, the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in the Natural Park of the Strait of Gibraltar, among others, stand out.
Since 1999, the company Turmares Tarifa has been operating in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, developing observations of cetaceans in freedom. At that time, whale watching activity was in the process of being developed and its evolution has tended to lead to greater knowledge of cetaceans as resources and a commitment to their conservation. For many people, what can be a mere maritime route with leisure and contemplation objectives, is in fact a unique opportunity to obtain databases that expand knowledge about animals and their environment, as well as a tool capable of transmitting an environmental awareness message with the social repercussion that this entails.
At present, Turmares has the quality and environmental certifications UNE-EN ISO 9001 and 14001 respectively as international standards, in addition to the Andalusian certification of Marca Parque Natural that denote the conservationist perspective of the entity. In 2003, the Department of the Environment was created in charge of environmental education and research. Since then, it has maintained a large database of data collected during excursions,ura which is invaluable for science, since it complements the research processes that are being developed in the area of cetology. Since the creation of this Department, its members have attended the most important conferences on cetaceans in the world, such as the European Society of Cetaceans, the Society for the Study of Marine Mammals or the International Whaling Commission, showing the scientific community, in more than 30 works produced, the results of the studies carried out by the Department in collaboration with relevant entities on cetaceans.
Furthermore, and no less importantly, the Department has been working in recent seasons on the development of teaching units in educational schools, adapting the material produced on cetaceans to curricular content according to educational levels and applying these units to more than 80 school groups each year. All this work is framed in the basis of the concept of ecotourism: nature tourism that invests in a benefit on the resources that are exploited. The assimilation of this concept has given Turmares international recognition as one of the world's leading companies in the whale watching sector due to the interrelationship between the application of good practice criteria for the activity and a characteristic commercial work as a company.
The improved knowledge of cetaceans and the generation of environmental awareness among an increasing number of people mean the mechanisms of action to ensure that the resource lasts and can continue to be, in a sustainable manner, the basis for the socio-economic development of the area. Turmares combines this philosophy with a service of absolute quality, applying an overexertion to show users the beauties of the Strait, as well as to awaken a wealth of emotions resulting from the encounter with these mythical animals: whales and dolphins.