In 1998 Katharina Heyer founded the foundation firmm–foundation for information and research on marine mammals. The purpose of our foundation is information and research for the protection of marine mammals. In Tarifa, our location in Spain, we research the whales and dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar and offer whale watching trips and observation weeks for interested people. We present the results of our work in Spain and Switzerland, for example at conferences, for associations, in schools, etc.
Thanks to our numerous activities, especially the excursions, we reach a broad public. In this way, we can spread our message more and more and achieve a more respectful treatment of the ocean and its inhabitants. Over 25,000 visitors per year take part in our whale watching trips in the Strait of Gibraltar; moreover every year we welcome many interested people to our observation weeks and have whole groups of schoolchildren or students as guests. The approximately 30-minute introductory lectures before the excursions with lots of interesting information about the whales in the Strait are very much appreciated by our visitors.
We also spread our knowledge and our values over the Internet: On our web pages www.firmm.org and www.firmm-education.org as well as via social networks we reach meanwhile more than 170.000 interested people per year.
In the section publications on firmm-education we collect all works of pupils or diploma/master theses of students, which were created in cooperation with our foundation.
2018: Review of 20 years firmm
In 2018 we could look back on 20 successful years of firmm. What have we achieved in this time?
- 6.614 trips with a total of 293.000 passengers
- 4.240 participants in the observation weeks (about 200 participants per year from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Great Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium)
- about 1.500 introductory lectures per year prior to the excursions in Tarifa (in up to five languages)
- special whale-watching programs for students (from Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic among others)
- Study excursions for students of marine biology and environmental sciences (from Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Czech Republic)
- Lectures at holiday fairs, teacher seminars, for associations, communities and in schools (in Spain, Germany, Switzerland)
- Presentations at professional events and conferences (e.g. IWC, European Cetacean Society, Whale Fest, Sea Shepherd, ...)
- Cooperation with other institutions in order to share and evaluate our data for scientific works
- annual firmm-meeting with lectures about the work of the foundation (middle/end of February in Switzerland)
- Reports about firmm in internationalen Medien (Presse, Rundfunk und Fernsehen)
- Interviews with firmm in international media (press, radio and television)
- Film „The last Giants – When the sea dies" about firmm and the whales and dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar in cinemas, as DVD and on television (produced: in 2009)
- Biography „Herzenssache – mein Leben mit den Walen und Delfinen in der Straße von Gibraltar“ (A matter of the heart – my life with the whales and dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar) by Katharina Heyer, founder and president of firmm (published in 2016)