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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
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...

Whale for Sale! New WDC report exposes the global trade in dead whales

WDC announces the release of a new report which highlights the global scale of killing and trade in whales in the 21st century. We demonstrate that consumption or utilization of whale and dolphin meat and by-products is not confined to just a few nations, as many people believe. Rather, killing and trade is taking place, in the present day, at a scale that is both shocking and unacceptable. The grim truth is that whales are killed not only for their meat but for their blubber, fatty tissue and other body parts. This appalling trade is taking place across a shocking number of countries – and it’s happening on our doorstep.

Since the moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986, more than 35,000 great whales have been killed, along with hundreds of thousands of dolphins and smaller whale species, which are not covered by the moratorium. Whilst commercial demand for whale meat has greatly declined in recent decades, the whalers refuse to accept that whaling is a dying industry and continue the slaughter – adding more dead whales to those already stockpiled in industrial freezers. Over the last couple of years, WDC has helped to expose the illegal sale of whale meat in Berlin and Copenhagen; the use of Icelandic fin whale products in dog food and beer, and even to fuel whaling vessels; the use of whale oil in skin cream on sale in Russia and the use of whale skin to infuse cocktails in an upmarket London bar. 

We also document several recent instances of ships carrying whale meat docking in various EU ports, including Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre and Southampton. Unfortunately, whilst all whale and dolphin species are strictly protected under EU legislation and the EU further bans international trade in whale products, it is currently legal for whaling countries such as Iceland, Norway and Japan to trade whale products with each other and to transit these products through EU ports – so long as these products don’t actually pass through customs.

WDC wants to close this outrageous loophole in CITES regulations in order to ban all transit of whale meat and products through EU ports. We also call on conservation-minded governments worldwide to work towards a better implementation of the existing legislation meant to protect whales and dolphins from exploitation and to work together to create a global network for the effective protection of small cetaceans.