Humpback whale-watching season starts this month

Humpback Whale Samana 2014

The wale season begins next weekend in Samana

Samana, DR.– Visitors to Punta Cana, La Romana, Santo Domingo and other tourist areas will have the opportunity to whale watch with day excursions from their hotels.

Every winter, the majority of the North Atlantic Humpback whale population (approximately 12,000 whales), migrate between 2,000 and 4,000 miles from their northern feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine, the east coast of Canada, Greenland and Iceland, to the warm Caribbean waters of the Samana Bay to reproduce.

Due to the mating season, from late January to late March, males are very active to "show off" to the females, making Samana one of the best places in the world to whale watch, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Dominican Today, January 04th, 2014

Environmentalists eye coral gardens as the next big tourist attraction

Coral Garden_Las Galeras_Samana


Several environmental groups working to restore and conserve marine resources have proposed the restoration of gardens of corals along Dominican Republic's coasts, as a new attraction for tourists

Santo Domingo.- The Puntacana ecological Foundation, the University of Miami and Counterpart International support the initiative, with nine years of research and projects implemented with remarkable progress in restoring and conserving coral reefs around the country.

The Coral Reef recovery and restoration workshop held in the Holiday Inn hotel in Santo Domingo serve to announce the results of nine years of work, its implications for the country, the conservation of the species and the planned future actions for their preservation in the country and in the Caribbean.

In a statement, Puntacana Group Environmental director Jake Kheel said the country project has consolidated one of the Caribbean's nurseries, located at Puntacana Resort &Club, where sexual reproduction of corals has also been documented through transplantation of tissue grown in nurseries. "This means that they've been transplanted from one side to the other; In addition to successfully implementing nurseries and the experience is replicable in various parts of the country."

Joan Parker, President and CEO of Counterpart International, said "the restoration and management of coral reefs are fundamental to the coastal health of communities, not only in the Dominican Republic, but in the entire Caribbean and the world, the results of the research provide capacity in advances to protect ecosystems, as well as for important sectors such as tourism and fishing."

Dominican Today, November 7th, 2013

Turtle watch for Leatherback Turtles

Leatherback Turtle_Samana

Ministry of Environment specialists are on the watch for Leatherback Turtles

They have begun their program for monitoring this highly endangered species that uses beaches along the Dominican coastline for nesting. These turtles return to the areas of their birth, which include beaches like Playa Coson in Las Terrenas, Playa El Valle in Samana, Playa La Vacama in Higuey, Playa Cabarete in Puerto Plata, Saona Island and Playa San Luis/Mosquea in Oviedo.

The Leatherback has been on the Endangered Species list since 1970. It is the largest of the marine turtles and can be well over six feet long and weigh more than half a ton. Its shell is soft and its beak is made to eat jellyfish. The females like nesting on beaches with strong wave action because it helps them get up on the beach. They lay between 100 and 150 eggs and it takes about 60 days for them to hatch.

El Nuevo Diario, June 2nd, 2013

Reef Check Dominican Republic Launches National Coral Reef Initiative

Las Galeras Divers_samana_Dominican Republic

In order to reduce local impacts, restore affected areas and create forms of sustainable use of marine and coastal resources

Santo Domingo, May 8, 2013.- Reef Check Dominican Republic announced the implementation of strategic alliances with key partner institutions in different parts of the country with tourist or fisheries importance to develop regional coral reefs initiatives, that all combined, constitute the national coral reef initiative. The National Coral Reef Initiative seeks to institutionalize local or regional efforts that would in turn follow global guidelines of the International Initiative Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).

This initiative aims to provide training for different groups of users, both to raise awareness as to enable local communities to verify the status and progress or deterioration of marine ecosystems. These studies also would give indication about the location and size of potential small protected areas, both inside and outside the national system of protected areas, involving local communities in sustainable use activities in these areas no-take marine protected areas. All this coupled with other study and solution of environmental problems affecting the coast and causing them to become natural attractions, which benefit local communities.

Partners to support this initiative will create a local fund independent marine conservation area from voluntary user fees and will responsible for being active members and engage with the guidelines of sustainable use of coastal marine resources through local conservation programs.

Currently the National Coral Reef Initiative has launched its activities in Las Terrenas with Turtle Dive School Dive Center, Coral Point Divers in Bayahibe, Tasha Gough in Cabarete, Sosua and Punta Rucia. Coming soon will also be active in Montecristi and Las Galeras.

Reef Check Dominican Republic, May 8th, 2013

Atlantic region can expect 9 hurricanes, 18 storms, USA Today reports

Hurricane Season 2013

Top forecasters predict an above-average 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 tropical storms forecast, of which nine will be hurricanes, USA Today reports

Santo Domingo.- It said a typical year, based on weather records that go back to 1950, has 12 tropical storms, of which seven are hurricanes. A tropical storm has sustained winds of 39 mph; it becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph.

"The forecast was released Wednesday morning by meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray at Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project. The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30."

USA Today adds that Gray's team was the first organization to issue seasonal hurricane forecasts back in 1984; this is the team's 30th seasonal hurricane forecast. "The team's forecast in 2012 -10 named storms and four hurricanes- was far below what actually occurred: Last year, 19 storms formed, including 10 hurricanes."

Dominican Today, April 12, 2013

Environment to recover reefs, mangroves, beaches

Las Galeras Divers_Las Galeras_Samana_dominican Republic

La Orilla - Las Galeras - Samana - Dominican Republic

The Environment Ministry's Marine and Coastal Resources Dept. on Tuesday unveiled a program to restore reefs, mangroves and beaches in different parts of the country

It said the work will start in Samana and La Altagracia provinces, considered as having the highest tourism development potential.

In a statement, Environment said the strategy to intervene the natural resources will be gradually extended to Dominican Republic's other provinces with similar profiles to develop tourism. "These interventions to manage and conserve the marine-coastal ecosystems benefit a population estimated at 150,000 inhabitants".

It adds that the program includes 40.9 square kilometers of coral reefs, mangroves and beaches, through the appropriate management of ecosystems and natural resources of river basins and coasts.

Dominican Today, April 10, 2013

DR backs Caribbean spiny lobster ban

Spiny Lobster Las Galeras Samana Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic expressed its support for the Regional Simultaneous Ban on the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), which will entry into force from 1 March to 30 June 2013 with the aim of protecting the species during the period of increased reproduction

"During this period the capture, processing, meat or mass possession and marketing of the spiny lobster, spotted spiny lobster, spiny rock lobster and spiny lobster mom are prohibited," Francisco Frias, director of the Dominican Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Codopesca), said.

The General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA) certified the ban by means of the Regulation OSP-02-09, for the regional management of the Caribbean lobster fishery.

The non-compliance of the rule is categorized in the regulation and in the law 307-04, of Codopesca, as "very serious offense" and it is punishable by means of a period between two and 10 years in prison or fines reaching ten public sector minimum wages.

Dominican Today, February 27, 2013

Humpbacks are back in Dominican waters

Humpaback Whales Samana Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic's Environmental Ministry today announced start this weekend of the humpback whale-watching season along the Atlantic coast and Samana Bay, where hundreds of the marine mammals come to mate and calve each year

The whales come specifically to the Banco de la Plata and Navidad (northeast) marine mammal sanctuaries, whose total 12,700 square miles make it the Caribbean country's largest protected area.

"As of next weekend thousands of tourists will have the opportunity to see up close the whales returning every year to the warm waters of the Atlantic," the Environment Ministry said in a statement.

On this occasion several official and non-governmental agencies agreed to protect the whales' habitat by ensuring compliance with observation regulations, such as bolstering the vigilance and control systems, "without disrupting their normal reproductive activities."

Environment said it will spend part of the proceeds on improving the Sanctuary's management, whereas the Tourism Ministry will promote the activity as an environmentally sustainable ecotourism and assess the tourists' levels of satisfaction.

Security will be provided by Navy patrols, for which only boats with Environment Ministry permits can conduct whale watching tours, and which don't emit exhaust smoke, or have engine and other noises.

Dominican Today, January 17, 2013

Humpback whales Samana Dominican Republic, January 15th, 2013

144 baby sea turtles scurry out to sea from the capital's beach

Hawksbill turtles

Santo Domingo. – At exactly 6:02pm Saturday the eggs which the hawksbill turtle Güiby had left 52 days ago in the capital's Güibia Beach began to hatch, with 144 offspring of the endangered species heading out to sea.

It took the hatchlings a full two hours to make the perilous trek from their nest in the warm sand to the Caribbean Sea, where they'll continue their ordeal to survive in their watery world full of predators.

The nest was the first of three dug by the turtle which returns to the same place each year, and this time laid 183 eggs, from which 144 hatchlings were born. Hatchlings are still expected from one more of Guiby's nests.

Dominican Today, November 12, 2012

The Dominican Government renews 10-year ban on harming turtle species

Hawksbill turtle in danger of extinction

Hawksbill turtle

The Dominican Government renewed the ban on hunting, killing and sale of four turtle species for 10 years, including the hawksbill, which is among the protected species, the Environment Ministry said Wednesday.

The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is in danger of extinction and for years was illegally hunted for its shell used in handicrafts, sold openly to tourists in hotels, airports and shops in the Dominican beaches.

"We've been working with artisans and they know it is forbidden to sell hawksbill" said senior Environment Ministry official Ivelisse Figueroa, quoted by AP.

On Tuesday The Presidency issued a decree banning the hunting, killing, egg gathering and marketing of loggerhead, hawksbill, leatherback and green turtles during 10 years.

In addition to the ban, the 2007 Free Trade Agreement, FTA, with the U.S. and Central America and the local environmental law prohibits the hunting and marketing of turtles since 2004.

Despite the bans the sale of items crafted from hawksbill continues in resorts, including clocks, handbags, combs and even stuffed turtles, which led the U.S. Humane Society International to sue Dominican Republic in 2007, under the provisions of the FTA.

The organization insisted in early 2011 that the Dominican government had not done enough to protect the turtles.

Figueroa added that since 2009 the Environment Ministry has confiscated since more than 5,000 pieces of tortoiseshell in tourist shops and has conducted workshops with artisans to eliminate their offering all products from sea turtles. "The artisans have found a replacement and now there's no more hawksbill in the stores."

Dominican Today, June 13, 2012

Viva Residence promotes the protection of marine species

Children's painting contest "We paint our whales"

Protection of Marine Species Samana

Photo: Courtesy of Dominican Today

SAMANA, Dominican Republic. - The Group Viva Resorts, with its brand Viva Residence, in collaboration with the Samaná Hotels and Tourist Companies Association (AHETSA) and the Samaná Tourist Cluster (CTS) supported the children's painting contest "We paint our whales," staged as part of the Whale Festival.

The contest encouraged more than 300 children in Samaná province to shaped their imagination and creativity by painting the humpback whales and their marine environs.

Children up to 12 years of age and from fourth to sixth grade from 10 communities took part, along the whale-sighting route of Las Galeras, Punta Balandra, Villa Clara, Los Gratinís, Los Cacaos, Santa Barbara de Samaná and Las Terrenas.

Viva Resorts executive director Rafael Blanco Canto (Papo) said the tourism group's social commitment supports projects to promote the protection of the natural patrimony in the communities near their resorts, and to protect the marine species.

Dominican Today, March 6th, 2012

Dominican Republic joins Central America for the lobster's closed season

The Dominican Republic joined this Monday the application of the third closed season for lobster, prohibiting the fishing and the marketing of the spiny lobster in the Caribbean

Lobster closed season 2012 Dominican Republic

Spiny Lobster - las Galeras - Samana

The secretary of Agriculture of Honduras, Jacobo Regalado, announced in Tegucigalpa that the fishing season ends will take place on Thursday March 1, 2012, and that the Dominican Republic was united to this regional measure.

The closed season for lobster fishing, which will take place from March 1 to June 30, 2012, will be in force in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and in Dominican Republic.

The director of the Organization of Fishing of the Isthmus of Central America (OSPESCA), Mario González, said that they were in talks with the authorities of other countries of the Caribbean in order they also join this application, created to protect the species during its period of greater reproduction.

He added that in next April, the secretaries of Agriculture of the Caribbean will meet in Honduras with their counterparts of Central America to know the rules which govern the prohibition of lobster fishing.

With this third consecutive closed season, the area of Central America will increase its receipts of approximately 50 million dollars and moreover a rise of the production is envisaged, indicated González.

Central America obtains annually receipts amounting to 450 million dollars from export of lobster, and generates around 60 thousand direct jobs.

The president of the Confederation of Central America of Artisanal Fishermen (Confepesca), Felix Paz, said that in the area some 30 thousand fishermen support this closing to then obtain lobsters of better quality.

The first simultaneous prohibition of lobster fishing in the Caribbean of Central America had been applied in 2010, within the framework of a regulation subscribed by the governments of the area on May 21, 2009.

Prensa Libre, February 27th, 2012

The season of the Humpback Whales starts in SamanÁ

From this Sunday January 15, the Sanctuary of the Marine Mammals will receive thousands of visitors

Humpback whale Samana Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO. - The Ministry of Environment authorized today the beginning of the Humpback Whales watching season in Samaná.

As from this Sunday January 15, the Marine Mammals Sanctuaries of the Silver Bank and the Navidad Bank will be the receptacle of thousands of visitors who come to admire the spectacle of the mating of hundreds of humpback whales.

During the whale watching season, according to the Environment Ministry, more than thirty thousand Dominican and foreign visitors, make an excursion to contemplate the spectacle.
During the watching season, according to the Minister of Environment, Ernesto Reyna, this natural event dynamize the economy of Samaná and of the neighbourhood provinces.

This morning, the Ministry of Environment, the Navy, the Town council of Samaná and the Ministry of Tourism, as well as five other institutions, signed an agreement mentioning that each one is responsible and promotes sustainable tourism during this period.

Between three to five thousand Cetacea visit our territorial waters offering the seduction show the most spectacular of all the Caribbean area, between January 15 and March 30.

Diario Libre, January 13, 2012

Humpback whales in Samana

The Samana Bay has the privilege to be recognized at international level as one of the best places for the Humpback whales (Megaptera novaengliae) watching

Every winter, Humpback whales undertake a migration of 3500 to 7500 kilometers, from the feeding areas situated on the American and Canadian East costs, in Greenland and and in Iceland, up to the breeding zones in territorial waters of the Dominican Republic.

A big part of the population of the Humpback whales of the Northwest of the Atlantic Ocean spends January, February and March to court to the Banco de la Plata and to the Banco de la Navidad, as well as in the Bay of Samana, which are the specific areas where the couples meet and where females are giving birth. The pregnant females give birth and then suckle their small whale calves, preparing them for a long trip back to the North.

The young whales learn thanks to the example of the adults, the roles of reprodution which will guarantee the future of the species.

Samana Bay

Las Galeras Divers, 27.12.2011

Dominican Republic joins Central America against shark finning

Shark_Dominican Republic

Agriculture Ministers of Central America and the Dominican Republic, agreed to ban the capture of sharks for their fins and to encourage intra-regional commodity trade, among other issues discussed in Panama

There was consensus in the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC) to approve the regional regulation of the Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (Ospesca) to avoid shark "finning" practice in the countries from Central American Integration System (SICA).

Minister Salvador Jiménez extended Dominican Republic's application to join Ospesca regional agreements.

Mario Gonzalez Recinos, Ospesca regional director, said that "from Belize to Panama, finning practice in the sea will be punished and governments will take steps to establish sanctions."

Over 100 million sharks are slaughtered annually, at a rate of over 270, 000 per day, in an inhumane practice that implies throwing the animals back into the sea to die. This all to fuel the shark fin trade market for shark fin soup, which is a delicacy in some Asian cultures.

The soup can fetch up to several hundred U.S. dollars per bowl, and some fins can fetch thousands of dollars depending on the rarity of the shark species as well as fin age and type.

Dominican Today, November 26th, 2011

Ocean View Travel Agency

eyes Samana for excursions in February 2012

Samana, DR

Ocean View Travel Agency has chosen February of 2012 to open their Dominican Republic Tours so tourists can experience one of the most magnificent natural experiences anyone can enjoy which is the whale-watching season.

Humpback Whale Las Galeras Samaná

From January-March an estimated 6,000 humpback whales which are most of the population of the whales of the North Atlantic come together on the waters of the beautiful Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic.

Their mating and rearing activities happens on the northern part of the Samana Peninsula where it is shallower and the waters are warmer. The humpback whales choose these waters to display one of the most magnificent shows with their courtship and birthing activities.

Dominican Today, October 1rst, 2011


A little reminder for our friends visitors and gourmets, in Dominican Republic, it is strictly forbidden to fish, market and to buy lobster, from April 1st to July 31st, every year. It is question of bredding period. The same applies to the lambis, which are mating from July 1st to October 31st.

Lobster Breeding season - Dominican Republic Lambi breeding season - Dominican Republic

Let's them living and breeding, think about the pleasure of watching them in their natural environment and of the future generations who perhaps won't have this chance.

Las Galeras, July 11th, 2011

Dominican Republic becomes full member International Whaling Commission

The Dominican Republic today became a full member of the International Whaling Commission and will have a voice in decisions of this body, that regulates whaling and other issues affecting their populations

Humpback Whale Las Galeras, Samaná

The administrator of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary in Samana (northeast of the Dominican Republic) Peter Sanchez, told Efe that the Caribbean country once acquired this condition satisfied debt 19.500 £ (31.764 U.S. dollars) he had with the commission, to which it acceded in 2007. Dominican Republic, Sanchez said, can now express their vote its opposition to whaling at the next meeting of the International, to be held 11 the 14 July on the island of Jersey (United Kingdom).

The Caribbean nation is opposed to the hunting of cetaceans and calls for the promotion of tourism of whales, practicing an average of about 40.000 visitors during the 75 day of watching season, which generates about nine billion dollars in revenue, Unofficial estimates cited by Sanchez.

Not being current on their financial contributions to the Commission, Dominican Republic could not vote against the granting of an annual hunting quota of nine humpback whales in Greenland for three years, approved at the meeting of the agency last year. The hunting of humpback whales for commercial purposes was prohibited from 1966 and subsistence from 1986, at the meeting but did Denmark authorization to hunt whales for subsistence community in Greenland.

The Organization of environmentalist Greenpeace, released today by the Caribbean country's new status in the commission, congratulated "the people, the Dominican government and institutions".

"This is very important for whales and for the overall image of the Dominican Republic", said in a statement sent to the coordinator of the Efe oceans campaign organization in Latin America, Milko Schvartzman, He emphasized that "the International Whaling Commission decisions are sometimes defined by one or two votes".

According to Greenpeace, the concession made to Denmark is not a matter of survival, it has been shown that meat from these animals is also used for commercial purposes.

Colombia also has yet to acquire its full membership of the Commission, recalled Schvartzman, noting that the governments of Latin America planned next week in Buenos Aires its strategy at the meeting in England