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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...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
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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...

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...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

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

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...

Norway's whaling season begins

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

US recommendations to save endangered North Atlantic right whales are grossly inadequate

Two and a half weeks after WDC and its conservation partners issued a Notice of Intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for failing to adequately protect right whales, NMFS released a revised species review report with proposed recommended actions to prevent the extinction of North Atlantic right whales.  WDC and its partners are currently reviewing the report and the associated recommendations to ensure they address the urgency of the current right whale crisis.  

In the review, NMFS cites research indicating that the population of North Atlantic right whales, after a decade of growth, has been declining since 2010 and only an estimated 458 individuals remain today.  The review reports that survivorship for females is lower than for males and the rate of calving is also declining for the species.  NMFS provides data indicating that entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes continue to impact the recovery of the species. Citing a number of peer reviewed research articles, NMFS points to an increase in rope strength and the high energetic costs of chronic entanglement as factors contributing to the increasing dilemma of entanglements. 

Concluding that right whale recovery has not improved, the Agency determined that right whales should remain listed as an endangered species and stated that “in many ways, progress toward right whale recovery has regressed”.  Yet, shockingly, NMFS also concludes that “more comprehensive evaluative research should be conducted and additional regulation action should be undertaken, if warranted” (emphasis added).

Of the eight recovery goals set by NMFS, the Agency acknowledges that only one, the reduction of impacts by researchers and whale watching, has been met. And after citing over 90 different research findings and concluding that human impacts are preventing this species from recovering, NMFS did not recommend the implementation of further conservation measures.  Instead, the Agency only suggested that further research is needed. 

According to Regina Asmutis-Silvia, WDC-NA executive director, “Additional regulatory actions are definitely warranted.  We have the data, we know the problems- the time for research is over and it’s time to take meaningful action.  Otherwise, we will be studying where we went wrong when we let a species unnecessarily go extinct.”  

Since its incorporation in 2005, WDC’s North American office has implemented a program specifically dedicated to the continued survival of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, a project which the Patagonia Outdoor Clothing and Gear company has helped to support since 2010. If you would like to help WDC and its work to save this species, please consider making a donation.