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Dominica announces new protections for sperm whales

Dominica has placed almost 800 square kilometers of sea off the west coast of the...
Commerson's dolphin

New Important Marine Mammal Areas added to global ocean conservation list

Commerson's dolphin Experts from a number of countries have mapped out a new set of...
Vaquita. Photo Thomas Jefferson

Scientific Committee gives first ever official species extinction warning

Photo: Thomas Jefferson We have welcomed the urgent call by experts to protect the vaquita...
blue whale

Whale fossil from Peru may have been heavier than blue whale

Scientists examining the bones of a 39 million-year-old ancient whale have concluded that it may...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
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Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

Landmark protections designated for whale habitats thanks to the collaborative efforts of conservationists

Today’s historic announcement by President Obama to create the first Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean is the second time this year when protections for whale habitats on the US east coast have been established.  Nearly 5,000 square miles of the newly designated Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument further enhances protections to the almost 40,000 square miles of endangered North Atlantic right whale critical habitat expanded last February.  North Atlantic right whales are a critically endangered species, of which fewer than 500 remain. 

WDC applauds the efforts of the coalition of organizations, including The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew), Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for leading the charge to create the Marine National Monument.  According to Regina Asmutis-Silvia, WDC’s North American Executive Director, “There are, unfortunately, far too many issues for any one organization to address on its own and we must work as a conservation village to effectively create positive changes.  Our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to the coalition of organizations, including Pew, CLF, NRDC as well as New England Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium for taking the lead on this historic effort.”

While WDC played a supporting role in the designation of the Marine National Monument, it helped lead the efforts for the designation of North Atlantic right whale critical habitat along with The Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife.  “This is another example of how working together makes us stronger” said Asmutis-Silvia. “Without the long term support of all of our collective members and constituents, we would not have been able to work for the more than seven years that it took to get critical habitat expanded.”

Although concerns about impacts to fisheries have been raised as a result of the designations of the Marine National Monument and critical habitat, scientific evidence shows that Marine Protected Areas can actually benefit fisheries.  Despite similar concerns being raised prior to the designation of a Florida marine reserve, a 2012 NOAA report concluded that the creation of the reserve not only did not result in any financial loss to commercial fisheries in the short-term but, instead, lead to increased catches after the reserve was established.  

Furthermore, WDC points to recent emerging research which demonstrates that whales play an essential role in the ecosystem from helping to offset climate change to supplying nutrients to the phytoplankton that produce most of the world’s atmospheric oxygen and ultimately support its fish stocks.  Asmutis-Silvia went on to say “Truly recovering whale populations means protecting their homes as well. Today’s announcement is a positive step in our efforts to save whales, an issue of global importance as the loss of whales is our human loss.”

(NEFSC/NOAA permit 1058-1733-01)