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New Victorian marine mammal regulations get seal of approval

With the launch of the new marine mammal regulations on Tuesday 1 December in Victoria, Australia has become a world leader in marine mammal management with the help of researchers at Victoria University.

Marine mammals expert Dr Carol Scarpaci from Victoria University has welcomed the new Marine Mammal Regulations which will be released by the Victoria Government's Department of Sustainability and the Environment.

Dr Scarpaci said: "The rapid growth in demand by tourists to interact with marine mammals has become a major challenge to wildlife managers.

"Victoria, is one of the few places in the world that allows tourists to swim with wild dolphins and seals and there is an ever increasing demand by people to watch or swim with dolphins, seals and whales – and this has an impact on these animals."

"The new regulations were developed with the help of the Department of Sustainability and the Environment (DSE), scientists, NGOs and tour-operators."

Dr Carol Scarpaci who is a lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University, was instrumental in the development of the regulations. Carol and her team of researchers at VU have been conducting research on tourist interactions with seals and dolphins for more than a decade.

She said: "This research coupled with the breadth of literature available in the scientific community and the help of all key stakeholders has resulted in the development of the first seal-swim regulations in the world."

"The regulations in the new marine mammal regulations will promote sustainable wildlife interactions in Victoria and provide greater protection for young vulnerable dolphins."

Dr Carol Scarpaci Backgrounder

Dr Carol Scarpaci has been researching marine mammals since 1997. She is the author of scientific research papers concerning the biology and management of marine mammals exposed to marine tourism. Her research has been used in a number of international forums, such as the International Whaling Commission and the  Society of Marine Mammal Science). Her work has resulted in the re-evaluation and re-structure of cetacean tourism and regulation enforcement in several countries. Carol, is affiliated with the Society of Conservation Biology (marine section) as a board director and has provided scientific reviews on the issue of whale watching to the International Whaling Commission since 2007.

Dr Carol Scarpaci is available for interview

Phone: (03) 9919 2571; Mobile: 0419 891 588; email [email protected]

Media Contact: Andy Gash, A/Media Manager

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4950; mobile: 0411 255 900

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