Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
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...
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...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...

Russian orca capture activities moving into high gear — but are captors acting without permits?

The sordid details are now emerging of further orca capture activities in the Russian Far East southwestern Okhotsk Sea. The two orcas captured in mid-July, and reported here earlier, have been shipped to China. And now we have learned that two more orcas were captured in the Okhotsk Sea in late July.

The legality of all four of these captures is in question as the capture quotas for 2014, for 10 more orca captures, were only issued in August, according to Order RPN 4 August 2014 from the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency. After quotas are issued, there would ordinarily be a logistical delay of several days to weeks before permits could be applied for and granted by the local fisheries board.

Yet whether legal or not, this is disheartening news: These orcas quotas are being awarded and the captures are being conducted without essential population studies, against the advice of many orca researchers, and in the face of condemnation by an increasing number of people around the world opposed to splitting up whale and dolphin families in the wild and putting individuals on display for human amusement.

WDC respectfully asks the fisheries inspectors and permit-granting fisheries boards in Russia to provide a factual account of the orcas taken, making public the essential biological information: Size and composition of capture pod; number, sex and size of whales taken or killed during capture; location and day of capture; identification photographs of all marked dorsal fins in the pod for identification and monitoring in future. However, even before obtaining such basic information, fisheries inspectors might well check whether a valid permit is even in place.

We can only hope some of this gets sorted out on 22nd September, at the 8th Marine Mammals of Holarctic International Conference, in St. Petersburg, Russia, when there will be a three-hour roundtable to discuss the issue of whale and dolphin captures in Russia.