PolarQuest is one of the eight companies that founded the Association of Arctic Expeditions Cruise Operators (AECO) in 2003, to regulate tourism in Svalbard and promote sustainable, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the area. The organization strives to conduct expeditions with the utmost respect for nature and wildlife. One part is carefully developed guidelines that all members are to follow during cruises and landings. Today, AECO is a respected representative of the cruise industry and an invaluable support to operators who wish to conduct responsible tourism in the Arctic.
CLEAN UP SVALBARD
Northbound sea currents are transporting an increased amount of garbage from all over the world to the pristine and vulnerable Arctic. It is upsetting to see the polluted coastlines, but unfortunately it has become a quite common sight. Even worse, it is a growing problem for the wildlife, who risks getting caught in fishing nets or eat plastics. Micro plastics seems to become a bigger threat to our eco system than we ever could have imagined. PolarQuest and our travellers have always collected garbage during our expeditions and today we do so through the project Clean Up Svalbard. Through the years we have collected tons, but our aim is to become even better.
In 2017, AECO and its members were invited by the UNEP to partake in the project ”Clean Seas – turn the tide on plastic”. As part of the work to combat marine plastic pollution, AECO’s members will drastically cut back on single-use plastics on Arctic expedition cruise vessels. http://www.cleanseas.org/
STATISTICS TO SCIENCE
For more than a decade PolarQuest has contributed with extensive data of all marine mammal viewings during our expeditions. The information is sent to researchers at the Norwegian Polar Institute.