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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...
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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...

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...

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...

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...

We won for whales at the International Whaling Commission

We did it! We kept the whaling ban in place.

Our team has just returned from the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC, the body that regulates whaling).

We went with very clear goals. Now, after a week of heated discussions, it’s time to take stock and look at what we´ve achieved – I am pleased to say, quite a lot. I also wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to all our wonderful supporters – we wouldn’t have won this victory without you!

First of all, Japan failed with its proposal to lift the international ban on whaling. A majority of IWC members confirmed that they believe in protecting whales, not killing them for profit. So the Japanese delegation had to return home empty handed. It was wonderful to see the counter initiative to this proposal was adopted with the support of many of the government delegates present. The ‘Florianopolis declaration’, named after the Brazilian city that hosted the meeting, was brought forward by the host country Brazil.

The Declaration highlights the key role of the IWC as a conservation body, the importance of whales for healthy oceans and the lack of need for lethal whale research and commercial whaling. It is the logical move and an important step in the right direction: This new Declaration aims to transform the IWC away from being a body that regulates whaling to one that conserves and protects whale populations.

However, it was still frightening to see how many supporters Japan was able to muster. It was this support that led to the failure to adopt the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary, a proposal that has been tabled at IWC meetings since 1998.

Three proposals to increase the conservation mandate of the IWC succeeded. A resolution was passed agreeing the need for the IWC to advancing the understanding of the role whales play in maintaining healthy oceans. Another resolution agreed that the IWC should tackle the problem of human-made underwater noise, and a third resolved to take on the huge problem of ghost gear – discarded and abandoned fishing gear that causes suffering and death for many whales and dolphins.

All things considered, this was definitely a positive outcome for whales and a good sign of progress towards better protection. Given the many threats that whales and dolphins face (most of them caused by us humans, like pollution, habitat loss and entanglement in fishing gear) the last thing they need is for large-scale legal hunting to return.

But despite all this good news, there is still much left to do. Iceland and Norway were very vocal in their support for Japan and the issue of Japan´s ‘scientific’ whaling is yet to be resolved. More control was given to countries that kill whales for ‘cultural and nutritional needs’ – this will no doubt come back to bite us at future meetings and will be exploited by the proponents of commercial whaling quotas. We do have our work cut out for us and we need your continued help.

Around 2,000 whales are slaughtered every year and we need to make it stop. The remaining IWC loopholes must be closed and all commercial whaling must end for good. Thank you again for your support.

Please make a donation if you are able to –  without the kindness of our supporters we would not be able to continue our fight for a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free.