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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.

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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

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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...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

Fisheries management announced in Scotland’s MPAs

The Scottish government has announced management measures for fisheries in a number of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have already been designated. 

The management measures are not for whales, dolphins and porpoises directly, but none the less, they will benefit from restrictions to damaging fishing activities. Allowing some areas of the sea respite from fishing activities that can damage the seabed will have ecosystem wide benefits, by allowing healthy seabed habitats to thrive so fish can spawn and feed there. Banning some static nets in some areas will have a direct benefit in reducing bycatch of porpoises and dolphins, as well as seabirds, seals and other marine species.   

Distinctive triangular fin of harbour porpoise

This decision was following an impressive and really positive public response – over 95% of consultation respondants saying they wanted stronger management measures – including from WDC supporters.

Putting a network of marine protected areas in place is a process that takes time and there are many steps to be taken before the MPA network is complete. Legislation to implement the changes will be subject to Parliamentary approval (via the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs Climate Change and Environment Committee) and should be in effect from 1st October 2015. The Scottish Government will also develop further draft secondary legislation for fisheries management for more MPAs during the summer.

This summer will be particularly important for whales, dolphins and porpoises, as there will be public consultations on MPAs for minke whales and Risso’s dolphins, amongst other species such as basking sharks and sandeels, in Scottish waters. There will also be a consultaiton in Scottish, English and Welsh waters on harbour porpoise Special Areas of Conservation. 

A report of the consultation was published.