Ceta'Diving Ceta'Diving Rangiroa, French Polynesia GEMM
We are looking for people to help with underwater observation, collection and archiving of data on a small community of bottlenose dolphins impacted by wildlife tourism.

Project Details

GEMM (Marine Mammal Study Group) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of whales and dolphins in French Polynesia.

Who we are ? GEMM ('Groupe d'Étude des Mammifères Marins' or 'Marine Mammal Study Group') is an association (non-profit organization) dedicated to the conservation of whales and dolphins within the marine mammal sanctuary of French Polynesia.​ Born in 2009 it is composed of biologists, naturalists, veterinarians, divers and skippers who share a passion for marine environments. Ecovolunteers from all over the world join us every year to help the NGO complete its field missions and expeditions.

What we do ? Our actions follow three guiding principles: scientific knowledge, protection and mediationWe focus on two burning issues: invasive wildlife tourism and conflicts between industrial fishing and marine mammals.

Where we work ? French Polynesia is composed of five distinct archipelagoes (the Austral, Society, Tuamotu, Gambier and Marquesas Islands) and 121 islands spread over an area of 5 million square kilometers. It is located at the center of the South Tropical Pacific Ocean between 5° and 30°S and 130° and 155°W. The French Polynesian EEZ is one of the most isolated worldwide and stands for almost 50% of the global French EEZ. Sixteen species of cetaceans are regularly found in these waters which abundance and distribution vary greatly between groups of islands. French Polynesia enjoys a very mild tropical climate and is equipped with modern infrastructures. No vaccinations are required to come and stay there.

Our mission / vision. Through our contribution to the conservation of marine mammals in French Polynesia, our mission is to preserve the natural functioning of animal populations in their ecosystems. Team members sharing our concerns and goals join us from many countries to support our work and to learn more about the animals and environmental issues we are working on. We work with them to ensure that wild marine mammals and their ecosystems are better known and respected.

Our goals. We mainly work to improve relationships between humans and wildlife.

Since 2009, GEMM has been analyzing the impact of tourism on whales and dolphins in the Tuamotu and Society Islands. In particular, scientific study has examined the effects of commercial diving activities on the behavior of the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) community inhabiting the northern part of Rangiroa atoll.

Our annual humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) survey allows us to identify individual whales around Makatea Island and to test a non-invasive approach of animals or groups of animals, particularly mother and calf pairs which are particularly vulnerable to disturbing whale watching activities.

Since 2012, GEMM has been working to better understand the problems of coastal and offshore depredation in the Tuamotu and Marquesas archipelagoes in partnership with CRIOBEDRMM, and some of concerned captains and crew of Polynesian fishing boats.

Who are we looking for ? We are looking for committed people who are ready to support our missions and annual expeditions to monitor the behavior and health status of cetacean populations in the marine mammal sanctuary of French Polynesia.

Why choose us ? With GEMM, volunteers discover a new vision of marine wildlife in exceptional settings. Among the highlights of our missions and expeditions are the animals on which we work, the sharing of our knowledge, the involvement of the participants in the individual recognition of the dolphins that we have been following for more than 10 years, the incredible scenery and kindness of the inhabitants of the Tuamotu archipelago.

The main focus of the project is on
NPO Status
Yes, registered non-profit organization
Foundation Year
Contact Person
Pamela Carzon
Spoken Languages

Social Impact

At the local level, GEMM has forged several partnerships with environmental NGOs and laboratories (e.g. Center for Island Research and Observatory of the Environment, Research Institute for Development) for the safeguarding of the Polynesian natural heritage. It has also set up an intervention network on marine mammal problems in partnership with the national gendarmerie, a 'citizen science' network for cetaceans (Rés'Océan) and a network of operators proposing well-managed whale and dolphin watching activities (GreenDive).

At the national level (France), we initiated and supervised several MSc studies and PhD thesis in collaboration with the École Pratique des Hautes Études. GEMM has also participated in the production of articles and French television documentaries on wildlife tourism issue. We are member of the French National Stranding Network and collaborate with several researchers on the excesses of animal tourism and worldwide conflicts between fishermen and marine mammals. We also collaborate with the Observatoire Pélagis of La Rochelle (Marine Mammal Research Center) on aerial census of cetaceans and seabirds overseas (REMMOA campaigns 2011, 2014 and 2017). We are currently working with Marquesan NGOs and artisanal fishermen to limit the impact of the development of industrial fishing and depredation in the Marquesas Islands.

Pursued Sustainable Development Goals

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