Avariety of dolphin species could be spotted easily some years ago. But it’s become a rarity now.
Even if they are seen, the journey time in the sea to catch a glimpse of the gentle creature has become longer.
It makes one wonder why this is happening.
Why are the friendly dolphins shying away from the coasts and the eagerly-awaiting tourists.
According to environmentalists, the human friendly-dolphins are caught in a tricky situation.
To avoid big ships, they come to the seashores, where they bump into smaller motorboats, get hurt and run closer to the beaches for cover.
Due to lack of awareness among the inhabitants of the coastal areas, they “run the risk of mistreatment” and death in most of the cases.
This is where the role of the authorities and environment associations comes in raising awareness among the people about the dolphins, which are in demand from tourists.
Many choose locations to visit where there are dolphin population.
Oman still has the advantage of having a good number of dolphins close to the coast of Muscat and Musandam as well as the governorates of Al Sharqiyah South, Al Wusta and Dhofar.
Environmentalists, however, keep warning the tour operators to understand the signals and adopt the best practices so that the dolphins do not run away to faraway places.
The dolphins seen in Oman are: Indian Ocean Dolphins, the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, Rough-toothed Dolphins, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, Striped Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, and Long-Beaked Common Dolphins.
The rich and diverse marine life offer an opportunity for marine tourism in the form of snorkeling, diving and fishing, said Robert Baldwin, an environmentalist and researcher.
He said it was the right time to discuss guidelines for growing marine tourism and adopt the best practices for the sector.
According to Baldwin, there is a huge potential for tourism with 20 known species of dolphins, some of which are so unique that they are not seen anywhere.
While emphasising on long term and short term objectives for exploring the area, he suggested that the tour operators in the marine sector form an association for mutual benefit.
He also favoured accreditation for marine tour operators from Environmental Society of Oman (ESO) or other licensing authorities.
The other environmentalists suggested “proper behaviour with dolphins” and not to indulge in commercial practices, which harm them and force them to move away from the coastal areas.