Whale-watching has become a significant global industry. The number of people taking such trips grew from 4 million in the 1990s to 13 million by 2008, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
But there are concerns about the impact it has. In 2014 conservationists at the International Marine Conservation Congress warned tourist boats may be causing stress and driving whales from their natural feeding grounds. There is also the risk of death from collision with the vessels.
Taking tourists out to spot Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Thailand is a relatively new product. The 15-metre (50-foot) long mammals flock to the northern Gulf waters to feed on an abundance of anchovies from September to December.
But six whales were found dead this year …