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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...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...

Entangled Whale Watch Boat Makes National News – Entangled Whales Rarely Do

An “entangled” whale watching boat with 157 passengers on board remained at sea overnight and made national news. 

While the news originally reported that the vessel was likely snagged in lobster gear, we knew that was doubtful.  We know that large whales who get entangled in lobster gear rarely become anchored. Unfortunately, we have plenty of data to support this, including the 13 currently unresolved cases of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales entangled in fishing gear.  With only 500 right whales remaining, the loss of even one individual from human causes can jeopardize the survival of the species, yet two new cases of entanglement have already been reported this year. These entanglements can cause chronic and painful injuries. Some of these entanglements will kill the whales, but these entanglements are not making national news. We are happy that the whale watch vessel returned to Boston safely and no passenger injuries were reported.  At the same time, we hope that anyone reading about the “entangled” whale watch vessel, or those passengers that survived it, will consider the whales, whose existence depends on the reduction of this very threatWDC – NA has spent over a decade collecting data and presenting the findings collaboratively to federal policy makers to reduce and eventually eliminate this threat. Every victory has been bittersweet, because for every year it took to get a new regulation passed, at least one North Atlantic right whale died from entanglement. WDC acknowledges that no fishermen in the US is intentionally entangling whales.  Our goal is to work with fishermen, through the federally authorized Take Reduction Team process, to protect this critically endnagered species.    Support the work we are doing with a $5.00 donation.

Images collected under MMPA Research permit number 1058-1733-01 Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC/Peter Duley

This right whale was sighted on June 29, 2014 by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Despite ongoing searches, this whale has not been relocated in order for permitted rescuers to attempt a disentanglement.  The orange noted on the whale’s body is a result of an infestation of cyamids, a sign of declining health. The line over the rostrum (face) of the whale has embedded into the whale’s head.  We believe the prognosis for this whale’s survival is poor.  Image collected under MMPA Research permit number 1058-1733-01 Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC/Peter Duley

About Regina Asmutis-silvia

Executive director - WDC North America