© Futurismo Azores Adventures

Futurismo Azores Adventures Ceases to Promote Swimming With Dolphins

22 November 2023

For years, Futurismo Azores Adventures has been promoting responsible swimming with wild dolphins, under professional supervision and strict compliance with legal regulations and our certification by the World Cetacean Alliance.

Our mission has always been to provide an experience that transcends mere tourism, as we believe that swimming with dolphins can be a transformative experience, an opportunity to deepen the connection with biodiversity, and raise awareness about the importance of animal protection. Grounded in the ethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence, we believe that the impact on the minds and hearts of people who participate in this type of experience is more significant for animal conservation and protection than the impact on the animals, which has been duly monitored and assessed at every moment, even leading to the termination of the activity on several occasions.

Nevertheless, swimming with dolphins must be seen as an activity that raises legitimate concerns about its impact on the animals. It is a delicate balance that needs to be considered, and despite a professional team of marine biologists and experienced skippers, we do not possess scientific studies or sufficient information to evaluate the impacts.

In addition to reducing the number of dolphin swimming experiences, we have provided diverse and informative information to our customers over the years, educating and preparing them in the best possible way for the experience. This included a dedicated page for this activity, where statements such as the following could be read:

"The privilege is all ours, and the animals lead the experience, setting the pace and interactions. They control the encounter.

There is no customer entitlement on board regarding the animals. The customer must be aware of their privilege."

This approach aimed to promote a responsible and sustainable approach to swimming with dolphins, where conservation and regenerative tourism were always a priority. However, to this day, credible scientific studies and continuous research to assess the impact of swimming with dolphins on animals and the marine ecosystem have not been conducted. Only such studies can provide objective data on the behaviour, well-being, and physiological responses of dolphins during these interactions.

We believe it is crucial to conduct ongoing scientific studies to better understand the behaviour, well-being, and physiological responses of dolphins during these interactions. We must set aside preconceived notions and assumptions so that everyone, from the Azoreans to our ecosystem, can truly benefit together.

Therefore, for this reason, and as announced at the 4th Whale Biennial, which took place in Lajes do Pico on the 30th and 31st of October, Futurismo has decided to no longer promote swimming with dolphins. We will continue to honor the commitments already made up to the time of this decision until those that are already contracted for 2023 and 2024 are completed.

Our purpose as a company, through an internal collective decision, is to create value and bring prosperity to the Azores and its people, contributing decisively to the qualification and betterment of tourism through science, education, culture, and sharing, aiming to create memories and impact travellers, in perfect respect for our land and our people. We believe that this decision aligns with this purpose and our desire to elevate tourism in the Azores to a deeper and more meaningful level, beyond mere economics. We want each journey to be an inner journey, a search for connection and meaning, with our land, our culture, and the nature we must care for.

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