The Agoa Sanctuary, like the protection of marine mammals in general, is part of a complex legal context going from the international to the local level.
Local legal framework
At the local level, an order issued by the Government Delegate for the Action of the State at Sea confirms the national legal framework by restricting a little more the approach of cetaceans in the waters under French jurisdiction in the West Indies.
In the exclusive economic zones of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, the approach of marine mammals is prohibited within 300 meters for persons, vessels and devices with or without persons on board. This applies to the surface of the sea, but also under the surface of the sea (scuba divers for example) and above the surface of the sea (drones for example).
The decree nevertheless indicates that specific authorisations may be granted by the Sea Directorate in the framework of defined nautical events. The persons, devices or vessels then authorised to approach within the 300 to 100 meters zone around cetaceans must however comply with the approach recommendations formulated by the Agoa Sanctuary. In order to pass on its recommendations, the Agoa Sanctuary provided a comprehensive training for whale watching professionals in 2022.