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WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...

Misa-line-ing whale protection

As a federally appointed member of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, WDC has worked for the past several years to help develop a plan that would reduce the amount of vertical line in the water column, thereby reducing the risk of entanglement to North Atlantic right whales by commercial fisheries.   We were pleased when the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the agency charged with implementing these regulations, announced that this new rule will be released this coming July.  So imagine our surprise when we heard that this same agency is proposing to allow an increase in fishing effort, and vertical lines, in the only known calving area for the right whales!

Currently a fishery regulation (Amendment 19) prohibits black sea bass TRAP/pot fishing, a method that relies on using vertical lines, in the southeast region between November 1 and April 30, when right whales are present.  Last month, however, the Fisheries Management Council proposed to allow this fishing effort to occur during the right whale migration and calving period and the NMFS seems poised to agree.  Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain and entanglements in fishing gear continue to be one of the most significant threats to this imperiled species.   The NMFS acknowledges it can rarely identify the specific fishery from which entangling gear originated so it is unclear why they are considering allowing this fishery to increase effort– and the use of vertical lines– in an area where newborn right whales will be found.

While they may be confused, we are not. With our conservation partners, we have told the NMFS, in no uncertain terms, that increasing risk to right whales is unacceptable!