It’s reported by the Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators that: “…. At a board meeting held in Longyearbyen on April 24th 2015, Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund decided to grant Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) 160.000 NOK (approximately 20.000 USD) to develop more Wildlife Guidelines – one of AECO’s many tools to support sustainable tourism in the Arctic…”.
“… Since AECO was established in 2003 the organization has been working for responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic. To archive this AECO has developed a number of tools, standards, systems and routines – among which AECO’s different guidelines play a central role. The guidelines AECO’s members are committed to follow are:
• operational guidelines
• visitor guidelines
• guidelines developed to prevent the spread of non-native species in the Arctic
• site-specific guidelines (AECO currently have 20 of these in place in Svalbard)
• Animated guidelines for visitors to the Arctic, and
• Wildlife guidelines
All of which can be accessed and downloaded via www.aeco.no/guidelines
Many new Wildlife Guidelines:
Wildlife Guidelines is an area AECO has already worked with for a number of years. One example of such a guideline is AECO’s Walrus guideline, which can be viewed via: www.tinyurl.com/n9wzeex. With the new funding from Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund this guideline will be followed up by approximately seven additional Wildlife Guidelines about mammals and birds in Svalbard. As is the case with AECO’s existing guidelines these will include general facts about the species, photos of it and a guideline about how to behave around it in order to prevent a negative impact for example because of unnecessary disturbance.
Wildlife Guidelines will be ready in 2016:
AECO’s new Wildlife Guidelines will be developed by a ‘guidelines committee’ which will be consulting the best available written sources and experts in regard to the animals and birds in question. According to AECO’s Executive Director, Frigg Jørgensen, the work will be initiated as soon as possible and the project group will aim to have the new Guidlines finished and published in 2016.
AECO is a member organization founded in 2003 to ensure that expedition cruises and tourism in the Arctic is carried out with the utmost consideration for the Arctic natural environment, local cultures and cultural remains, as well as in regard to safety hazards at sea and on land.
The organization has more than 45 international members, which operate approximately 30 vessels in the Arctic. AECO’s backbone is a number of guidelines which members and their guest are obliged to follow to ensure responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic. AECO advocates for the interest of our members and works closely with many different Arctic stakeholders including the Arctic Council, national and local authorizes, research communities, international and national agencies and others. Projects include developing and running a cruise database, a vessel tracking system, organizing field staff conferences, measuring environmental impact, the creation of site specific and other guidelines + involving in cleaning projects such as the clean-up Svalbard campaign and more…”.
Read more about AECO at: www.aeco.no or/& https://www.facebook.com/ArcticCruiseOperators
Read more about Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund at: http://www.sysselmannen.no/Svalbards-miljovernfond/