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A dolphin called Arnie with a shell

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...
Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
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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...

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...

A new opportunity to stop Japan’s whaling?

Last Wednesday, the European Parliament voted ‘yes’ to the EU-Japan free trade agreement (or
Economic Partnership Agreement). It also agreed to a closely related strategic partnership agreement
with Japan. This marked the end of our campaign to use these trade talks to get better protection for
whales from the harpoons of Japanese whalers.

Our aim was to get the EU to use the trade negotiations as a powerful tool to put pressure on Japan to
stop its whaling and with your help we achieved a lot. We made ourselves heard within the EU and
especially the European Parliament, which is supposed to be the ‘voice of the European people’.

I blogged about our campaign last week and reflected on everything we did together – have a read, we
might not have stopped the deal going through (that was always a long-shot!) but we did achieve some
significant successes and put Japan’s whaling activities firmly on the table for these talks. I want to pass
on my thanks to everyone who supported us – we couldn’t have achieved any of it without you!

However, despite a lot of very heartening support from MEPs from different parties, who spoke out
against the agreement and for a better protection of whales, this voice of the European people failed
when it came to choosing whale welfare and conversation over a billion pound trade deal as 152 MEPs
voted against the agreement but 474 MEPs gave their consent.

I was grateful to see the Co-President of the Greens ask for a postponement of the vote in order to have
time to strengthen environmental protections in the agreement but unfortunately, his appeal was not
adopted.

Not an ideal outcome, but we have some new opportunities…

It is possible that this free trade agreement will give the EU a new chance to push hard for Japan’s whale
hunts to end. The agreement contains a chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development, which calls on
the parties to the agreement to ‘effectively implement in its laws, regulations and practices the
multilateral environmental agreements to which it is party.’ In other words, it expects both parties (Japan
and the EU) to abide by international regulations. As we are all well aware, Japan has been found to be in
violation of the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the body that regulates whaling) and the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The EU can now use this trade
agreement to remind Japan of its obligations and even call for sanctions as a last resort if Japan
continues to flaunt its international responsibilities.

As I mentioned earlier, the EU also entered into a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Japan. This
allows the EU and Japan to cooperate on areas such as energy, education, environmental matters and
climate change. The EU Parliament used this opportunity to call for an end to Japan’s whaling and trade
in whale products.

The deal has been signed but because of the immense support we have received from WDC supporters
and EU representatives over the last two years of our campaign, it doesn’t feel like all is gloom and
doom. To say it with a line from Galaxy Quest, ‘Never give up, never surrender!’ Yes, one door closed
but that won’t stop us looking for an open one. I’m looking ahead to the possibilities this new
partnership between the EU and Japan might present to us.

We’ll keep fighting for an end to the cruelty that is industrial whaling – we owe it to the whales.

I am hoping that we will continue to have your support and your voice to make the oceans safer for whales and dolphins. 

If you are able to make a donation to help fund this important work, I’d be very grateful, thank you.