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Majestic fin whales

Icelandic whalers kill first fin whales in four years

As feared, whale hunters in Iceland have slaughtered at least two fin whales, the first...
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...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings
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...

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...

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...

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...

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

I have to admit to bitter disappointment when I arrived in Tromsø, northern Norway, a...

Thousands of dolphins killed in fishing nets used in EU waters

New data from French scientists reveals that unprecedented numbers of common dolphins have died and stranded this year as a result of bycatch (accidental entanglement in fishing nets and gear) in European Atlantic waters.

The report (below) identifies that about 700-800 common dolphins stranded on the French Atlantic coast during the three months from January to March 2017, at the same time as hundreds washed ashore on the Cornish and Irish coasts. Dolphins that accidentally die in fishing gear either fall out of the gear as it is being hauled aboard the fishing vessel or their bodies are thrown overboard. Some of those dead dolphins then wash ashore, with tell-tale signs of the fishing gear on their bodies.

You can help. Stop thousands of dolphins, porpoises and whales dying in fishing gear every year. in UK seas.

Despite high numbers of common dolphin deaths for decades, the number of dolphins stranded in France in 2017 is unprecedented. Post-mortem analysis demonstrates that bycatch accounted for about 80% of the deaths of those stranded in France. 

Strandings data also reveal that the number of dolphins dying in fishing gear is ‘one order of magnitude higher’ than the figures produced by the existing EU bycatch observer programme. This programme aims to ensure that Member States monitor bycatch levels and implement measures to reduce deaths.  This analysis adds to previous evidence that the existing EU bycatch monitoring and mitigation programme (Regulation 812/2004) is not fit for purpose and results in the deaths of many thousands of dolphins, porpoises and whales throughout European waters.

Strandings data from previous years show that bycatch of common dolphins has been consistently high in this region from the late 1990s onwards, with between 3,650-4,700 dolphins being killed each year in recurrent hotspots in the Bay of Biscay and western Channel. Based on the number stranded so far this year, the French paper suggests that thousands have died in fishing gear again this year, like every other year in the preceding two decades. 

The current European bycatch regulation is proposed to be repealed and incorporated, along with measures intended to protect fish stocks, into a new proposed regulation on ‘the conservation of fishery resources and the protection of marine ecosystems through technical measures’.

The European Parliament Committee on Fisheries is currently drafting its amendments to the Commission’ proposed legislation. However, current proposals from the EU Fisheries Committee not only fail to address the issues but further weaken protection with among other things, the removal of bycatch monitoring or mitigation in south-western waters altogether (including the Bay of Biscay, Spanish and Portuguese waters, and the waters around Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands).

Data from 2017 points to even higher numbers of dolphins being killed in the Bay of Biscay and western Channel, in areas already identified as bycatch hotspots. EU Member States need to urgently identify which fisheries are involved and implement effective measures to immediately reduce and progressively eliminate bycatch in fishing gear. Removing bycatch measures altogether in this region would likely lead to population declines.