An Integrated Framework to Assess the Carrying Capacity of Humpback Whale-Watching Tourism in Praia do Forte, Northeastern Brazil

  • Luena FernandesEmail author
  • Marcos R. Rossi-Santos
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 22)


Whale-watching tourism has been growing in recent years in Praia do Forte, northeastern Brazil and to manage this activity in a sustainable manner it is important to determine its carrying capacity. However, an assessment of whale-watching carrying capacity requires an understanding of the biological, social and economic dimensions, as well as consideration of the several stakeholders involved and the current management capacity in place at a specific locality. Here we analyse the development of this activity in Brazil and Praia do Forte in recent years, the current state of knowledge about the potential impacts of whale-watching on humpback whales and the concept of tourism carrying capacity as it applies to whale-watching. We then bring all of these components together to propose an integrated framework to begin its assessment for Praia do Forte, northeastern Brazil. We conclude that whale-watching in Praia do Forte is currently a low-impact activity, with no evident deleterious biological effects on the target population although we still lack all necessary information to establish its carrying capacity. Therefore, we suggest limiting the activity to its current level, until more data and management capacity become available, and make recommendations to improve our understanding of the impacts of this activity and its sustainable management in this locality.



This paper is part of the first author’s Master’s degree in Ecology Applied to Environmental Management at Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), Brazil. We are most grateful to the entire Instituto Baleia Jubarte team, especially to Sergio Cipolotti and Márcia Engel, for her support and encouragement. We are grateful to Milton Marcondes, José Truda Palazzo and David Lusseau for constructive conversations. We thank Guilherme Maurutto for his help with the map and Enrico Marcovaldi for the use of his photographs. We are grateful to PETROBRAS for the continued financial support of Projeto Baleia Jubarte.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Projeto Baleia Jubarte/Instituto Baleia JubarteMata de São JoãoBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pos-Graduacao em Ecologia e BiomonitoramentoUniversidade Federal da BahiaSalvadorBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Ecologia Acústica e Comportamento Animal, Centro de Ciências Agrárias, Ambientais e BiológicasUniversidade Federal do Recôncavo da BahiaCruz das AlmasBrazil

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