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Humpback whale underwater

Humpback whale rescued from shark net in Australia

A humpback whale and her calf have managed to escape after becoming entangled in a...
Humpback whales in Alaska

Pumps and conveyor belts. How could more whales help save us?

We are excited to announce backing for two ground-breaking research projects to assess the little...
Amazon River dolphin (Boto)

River dolphins observed playing with anaconda

Researchers in Bolivia recorded an unusual interaction between local rivers dolphins and an anaconda snake...
Common bottlenose dolphin

Dolphin pens identified at Russian naval base

Analysis of satellite imagery suggests that Russia may be using military dolphins at its naval...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

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

Norway's whaling season begins

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

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

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

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

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

Concern grows over rising dolphin and porpoise deaths in UK and France

The growing numbers of dolphins and porpoises washing up dead on the south west coast of the UK is continuing to cause concern.

Over 100 have been reported dead on beaches in Cornwall and in fishing boat nets in eight weeks, according to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, bringing the toll for last year to 205.

Of particular concern is the manner of these deaths with many being caught in fishing nets. Of 13 taken for recent post-mortem examinations, five showed signs of being caught in nets. The larger (often French) trawlers operating out to sea have been cited as a possible cause, with local Cornish trawler men reporting that they are often hauling up already dead and rotting dolphins.

Whilst it is still not completely clear what is behind the recent strandings, or indeed how unusual the number of deaths maybe, unless a post mortem (or necropsy) is carried out on the individuals quickly, it becomes very difficult to ascertain the cause of death. It has not been possible to carry out necropsies on many of these dead whales and dolphins because the bodies are too decomposed, but potential causes include illness, the effects of pollution as well as entanglement in fishing nets.

Thousands of dolphins and porpoises die in nets in UK waters every year and most of the protection these vulnerable creatures have comes from the EU. But, after Brexit they won’t even have that. We need the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments to make sure effective laws are in place to protect dolphins, porpoises and whales in UK seas after Britain leaves the EU.

Since February 3rd, almost 200 dolphins and porpoises have been found stranded along the French Atlantic coast, between the Loire and Gironde estuaries. Ninety eight percent of the recorded stranded animals were common dolphins most examined by Observatoire PELAGIS or members of French stranding network (Reseau National Echouage or RNE).  Of the 68 examinations 85% showed evidences capture in fishing gear or nets. These included broken beaks, cut-off fin or tail fluke, external net marks, and froth in lungs.

Dolphins can’t breathe underwater. Trapped in a net, they will panic, and many are injured as they try to escape. When they can’t struggle any more, they will close their blowhole and drown.

Next week sees the launch of a new campaign by WDC to try to reduce the scale of these terrible deaths.