Act No. 444/2014 of the Ministry of the Environment of Brazil determines the "Official National List of Endangered Fauna," including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and terrestrial invertebrates, and indicates the degree of extinction risk of each species. This offers certain protections to the species with endangered or threatened status.
Currently Federal Law 7643/87 forbids the hunting and harassment of cetaceans in Brazilian waters and the Edict 117/96 (modified by the Edict 24/2002) established the whale watching regulations. According to this Edict all vessels operating in Brazilian jurisdictional waters are forbidden to: approach any whale species (cetaceans of the order Mysticeti, sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, and orca Orcinus orca) closer than 100 meters of the nearest animal, with engines operating. Engines must be in neutral when approaching humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae, and turned off or in neutral for other species; resume engine operation to depart from the whale only after clearly sighting the whale(s) at the surface, or in a distance of at least 50 meters from the vessel; chase any whale, with engine operating, for more than 30 minutes, even when respecting the above mentioned distances; interrupt the path of any cetacean of any species, or try to direct or alter its movement; intentionally penetrate a group of cetaceans of any species, dividing or dispersing it; make excessive noises, such as music, any kind of percussion, or others beyond those generated by the normal operation of the vessel, when less than 300m from any cetacean; dump overboard any sort of detritus, substance or materials when less than 500m from any cetaceans, in addition to all other pollutant dumping prohibitions contained in the laws; approach an individual or group of whales if approached by at least two other vessels at the same time In September 2000, the right whales’ primary habitat in Santa Catarina was protected by the Right Whale Environmental Protection Area (EPA). This area is now an the focus of right whale conservation and research, with certain sections of the area closed to tourism and others well managed and regulated.
The Brazilian National Sanctuary of Whales and Dolphins was created in 2008. New regulations drafted by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation are awaiting official publication. These aim to establish more rigorous guidelines and procedures for the authorization and development of activities involving intentional interactions with cetaceans and manatees in Brazilian jurisdictional waters.
A new National Conservation Action Plans (NAPs) for small and large cetaceans is under development, with a view to finding solutions and proposals to address conservation concerns, such as:
- Creating more targeted and specific legal instruments to regulate the whale watching activity at a national level; Improving monitoring and supervision of whale watching tour operators and activity; Establishing environmental licensing and/or tour operator certification systems for whale watching activity;
- Improving capacity building for the development of whale watching activity; Establishing exclusion areas along the Brazilian coast, as in the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha and in the coast of Santa Catarina State; Requiring whale-watch operators to contribute to conservation and research through data-sharing on target species, and partnerships with universities and research institutions.
- The government, in partnership with the Federal Conservation Units, will also be initiating a campaign to promote land-based whale watching. This approach has the advantage of being freely accessible to a greater number of people than the boat-based observation, as well as eliminating the risk of disturbance to the target species.
Act No. 444/2014 of the Ministry of the Environment of Brazil determines the "Official National List of Endangered Fauna," including mammals.
Currently Federal Law 7643/87 forbids the hunting and harassment of cetaceans in Brazilian waters and the Edict 117/96 (modified by the Edict 24/2002) established the whale watching regulations.
A new National Conservation Action Plans (NAPs) for small and large cetaceans is being developed.