How did we start?
It is not any project that reaches 27 years of existence, with the pride of being able to deliver results and achievements recognized in Brazil and abroad. In these almost three decades, many challenges and obstacles have been overcome.
Celebrating its 27th Anniversary on the 23rd August 2017, the project continues its untiring struggle to raise awareness among all, to conserve marine biodiversity using scientific knowledge, the dolphins’ charisma and the easy way to know marine life around the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago.
The Spinner Dolphin Project was born from a passion for dolphins, the sea and Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, together with the need of dolphins’ and the archipelago’s preservation.
The success of the Spinner Dolphin Project is due to its institutional arrangement and the engagement with the community of Noronha. The local NGO Spinner Dolphin Center is responsible for the implementation of the project, which is coordinated by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio)/Ministry of Environment. The Spinner Dolphin Project has been officially sponsored by Petrobras throughout much of its history, by means of the Petrobras Social Environmental Program.
To achieve all of our goals, the Spinner Dolphin Project is guided by Its Mission, Vision and Values.
Develop scientific research, environmental education, community engagement and sustainability actions to foster conservation of the spinner dolphins, Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and marine biodiversity.
Become a world reference on environmental conservation and sustainability in insular ecosystems.
Science, commitment, communication, cooperation, ethics and sustainability.
The Spinner Dolphin Project achieved outstanding and admirable gains. One of the most impressive numbers is the record of about 2 million spinner dolphins entering the Dolphin’s Bay, and all of them were systematically monitored, registered, researched and protected. This huge amount of data generated a large range of positive results in the 7 areas the Spinner Dolphin Project has been working for: environment, conservation, environmental education, science, social, economic and tourism.
Environment: Because of preservation actions developed by the Spinner Dolphin Project and ICMBio, the number of spinners remains practically the same since 1990, when the Spinner Dolphin Project began: spinner dolphins continue to enter 95% of the days of the year in the Dolphins’ Bay, preferred place of these aquatic mammals to rest, to communicate, to reproduce and to nurse their young. This is a very important landmark considering that the decline in the number of many species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) in the world has increased during this same period. In Fernando de Noronha the vessel tourism has increased 10 times since 1990, one of the major threats to the wellbeing of these marine mammals, but at the same time it has contributed to show the importance of marine life conservation.
Conservation: Propose, create, divulge and monitor conservation standards for cetaceans and for Fernando de Noronha (FN), like the law of the Brazilian Institute of Environment (IBAMA) No. 05/1995, which defines specific guidelines to avoid disturbance of the spinner dolphins that daily come to Fernando de Noronha; aggregate the value of sustainability when it deals with human occupation on Fernando de Noronha Island; subsidy plans and guidelines for the sustainable development of the island.
Environmental education: Raise awareness of islanders and visitors about the need to preserve cetaceans and the planet as a whole and teach the economic, social and health benefits of nature conservation.
Science: Discover and divulge that rest is the main use of the Dolphins’ Bay by the spinners; describe the behavior of rest, reproduction, care and nursing in natural environment for the species Stenella longirostris; qualify and quantify the occupation of the spinners that daily come to Fernando de Noronha; qualify and quantify the impact of nautical tourism on dolphins. The results of our Research, Environmental Education, Community Engagement and Sustainability Programs were published in 5 Books, Chapters in 7 Books, 6 Doctoral Thesis, 9 Master Degree Dissertations, 32 Graduation Conclusion Works, 31 Papers published in Journals and Annals and 160 Abstracts presented at Scientific Events.
Social: Empower islanders to join the Ecotourism market. Sponsor local cultural and sports initiatives, such as maracatu and surfing.
Economic: Divulge Fernando de Noronha in Brazil and abroad as a destination for Ecotourism.
Tourism: Promote improvement in the services of tourist guiding and lodging by means of our training courses and also guide the local people on how to implement a sustainable management in their business.
Acknowledgments in Brazil and abroad
One of the proofs of the success of the work carried out by the Spinner Dolphin Project is the national and international awards we have got along these 27 years. This recognition shows that the project is on the right track to achieve its goals, in tune with its mission, vision and values.
Among the awards already received, we highlight six:
Okayama Education for Sustainable Development Award – 2016
The Spinner Dolphin Project was ranked among the 10 finalists in the world to compete for the “Okayama Award 2016” for Education for Sustainable Development.
Being ranked among the 10 finalists in the world, showed us that we are in tune with our mission: develop scientific research, environmental education, community engagement and sustainability actions to foster conservation of the spinner dolphins, Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and marine biodiversity and our vision: become a world reference on environmental conservation and sustainability in insular ecosystems.
This award is promoted by the city of Okayama in Japan, selected as one of UNESCO’s partners for the Global Program of Action for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. For this reason, the Okayama city launched the “Okayama Award” in 2015 with the aim of disseminating worldwide practices for Sustainable Development.
BRAZTOA Sustainability Award – 2015
Spinner Dolphin Project won 1st Place in the BRAZTOA Sustainability Award.
The prize represents recognition for the actions that the Spinner Dolphin Project has been doing since 1990 in favor of sustainable tourism on the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago. The Braztoa Sustainability Award serves as a stimulus for the application of sustainable practices in Brazilian tourism.
Merit Award – 2012 and 2013
This award granted by the District Council of Fernando de Noronha aims to recognize the services provided by local institutions for the benefit of Noronha’s Community.
Guardianship Council’s Statement – 2008
This statement was granted to the NGO Spinner Dolphin Center for the partnership in actions on developing programs for environmental education and professional qualification for children, adolescents and young people of Fernando de Noronha.
Public Benefit Title – 2007
The Public Benefit Title is the recognition of Fernando de Noronha’s District Council that the Spinner Dolphin Center provides relevant services disinterestedly to society.
Procel Prize – 2006
The architectural project of our headquarters was made according to the concept of sustainable architecture, receiving, in 2006, 1st Place in the Procel Prize (Power Efficiency) – Building Category
The Procel Prize is a voluntary adhesion instrument whose main objective is to identify buildings that have the best classifications of power efficiency in a given category, motivating the consumer market to acquire and use more efficient properties. This is an extremely important sector in the power market, accounting for about 50% of the country’s power consumption.
In order to achieve its objectives, the Spinner Dolphin Project develops four main programs: research, environmental education, community engagement and sustainability.
The Research Program, developed since 1990, consists in the study of the natural history of the spinner dolphins through seven sub-programs: cetacean distribution and area occupation; behavioral ecology; individual cataloguing; genetic profiling; interaction with tourism; trophic behaviour, and Aquatic Mammal Strandings Network. Project researchers have gathered more than 8 thousand days of research, 77 thousand hours of monitoring, more than thousand vessel expeditions plus 1,500 dives with the spinner dolphins.
Environmental Education Program
The Environmental Education Program, undertaken in partnership with the National Marine Park and Environmental Protection Area of Fernando de Noronha and the Archipelago School, is focused on marine issues and the ecological inter-relationship of this ecosystem with the everyday life of the local population and visitors.
Our main goal is to sensitize local people and tourists about the need to preserve dolphins and the planet as well. More than 500 thousand tourists were already benefitted from field orientation. For Fernando de Noronha’s students, more than one thousand workshops on environmental education theory and practice were done, totalizing more than 15 thousand students and 200 teachers.
Community Engagement Program
The Community Engagement Program aims at stimulating the sustainable development of Fernando de Noronha, promoting professional skills, supporting cultural and sports initiatives, and enhancing political representation of the islanders.
The Spinner Dolphin Project also continuously sponsors some of the main cultural and sports initiatives of Fernando de Noronha, such as the D. Nanete Cultural Group, the Maracatu Nação Noronha music group, and the local Surf Association.
Another outstanding action of the Spinner Dolphin Project is the encouragement of youth protagonism and the formation of local leaderships through support to the ComVida Group at the Archipelago School and the holding of training workshops for local leaders.
We believe that the practice of sustainability enables the harmonious relationship between human activities and the preservation of the natural environment.
Sustainability is in the daily life of our team and is guided by our Sustainability Policy. The architectural project of our headquarters was made according to the concept of sustainable architecture, receiving, in 2006, 1st Place in the Procel Prize (Power Efficiency) – Building Category.
In order to minimize the ecological footprint of human occupation on Fernando de Noronha (FN), the Spinner Dolphin Project offers free consultancy on sustainable management to FN’s lodges, seeking the improvement of indicators related to management of water use, solid waste, liquid effluent, supplies, power efficiency, labor and income, quality, sustainable tourism and legislation.
We also launched a new and challenging stage, which was the creation of four Classification Matrices for Lodges, Bars and Restaurants, Vessel Tours and Recreational Diving to apply for the “Seal Noronha+20”. The seal’s objective is to promote the adoption and maintenance of sustainable practices. These matrices were built and validated in joint work with local entrepreneurs of each sector as well as with the different local councils and the local management offices.
During these 27 years, more than 4 thousand people were benefited from our capacity skill courses. 75 Lodges, 20 Bars/Restaurants, 20 Vessel Tour Companies and 3 Dive Centers got sustainable management consulting for free.
Rede Biomar (Biomar Network)
The Marine Biodiversity Projects Network (Biomar Network) brings together marine conservation projects sponsored by Petrobras, by means of the Petrobras Socioambiental Program. The Biomar Network is the result of a partnership between organizations, Petrobras, Ministry of Environment and the Chico Mendes Institute for biodiversity Conservation to join forces in the field of marine conservation in Brazil, through the protection and research of species and environment where the sponsored projects are acting, promoting awareness and engagement of society around the subject.
At the time, the Albatross, Humpback Whale, Living Coral, Spinner Dolphin and Tamar Projects are part of the Biomar Network.
With all these numbers and positive results to present to society, the Spinner Dolphin Project will continue working to achieve even more, for the benefit of animals, nature and humankind. For this, the Project will continue counting on the support of the communities, the scientific society, its sponsors and tourists from Brazil and abroad. And may come more and more years of work, challenges and victories!