Guests on day-tour or live-aboard tour boats usually visit coastal sites as part of their itineraries. Because of the rapid growth of such visits, their impacts have become a subject of concern for many within the tourism industry. Visitors may collect shells or rocks, introduce exotic species, harass wildlife, feed animals, step off of trails, leave garbage or graffiti behind, or light fires, leading to a wide range of environmental impacts.
Learning the proper environmental interpretation about the effects they may cause by visiting coastal areas can help reduce unintentional or unnecessary impacts.
Why Should I Care?
Disturbance of Coastal Habitats and Wildlife: Careless behavior by tourists in coastal areas can disrupt habitats and disturb wildlife, affecting the health of the ecosystem and diminishing its value as a tourist attraction.
Reduction in Coastal Biodiversity Caused by Introduction of Non-native Species: Leaving garbage or food waste, or feeding animals can result in the unintentional introduction of non-native species that may compete with native plants and wildlife for space or food and may prey on local species, reducing the local diversity and reducing the opportunities for unique wildlife sightings and experiences.
Deterioration of the Image of the Site: Problems with trash, graffiti, trail degradation and other issues destroy the natural beauty of the land and coasts, as well as decreasing the value of a destination as an attractive tourist site
What Can I Do?
Establish a No-collection Policy: Don’t collect items from the landscape and encourage other visitors by advising them of the consequences for coastal habitats of collecting shells, sand or rocks.
Avoid Feeding and Harassment of Coastal Wildlife: Excessive interaction with animals can cause them to become aggressive in seeking food or protecting their territories or young, posing a threat to humans. Wildlife may also become overly wary of people and abandon an area, decreasing the opportunities for animal sightings.
Educate Yourself and Visitors: Learn about environmental effects before landing ashore and be aware of the sensitive nature of coastal ecosystems and of the potential impacts people can cause by littering, leaving graffiti, stepping off of trails and other actions. Promote a voluntary policy of "take only memories and photographs, leave only footprints." Be aware of steps to take to prevent the introduction of alien species such as checking shoes and gear.