Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Kids blogs
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
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...
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...
Kiska the orca

Real stories from the dark side of captivity

Since we launched our campaign, we've been talking a lot about what a dark place...

Ross Sea receives long awaited protection

Shout it from the highest mountain in Antarctica: The Ross Sea, at last, has received protection. The nations of CCAMLR (the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Living Resources) have finally after years of discussion and negotiation agreed on a 1.55 million sq km core area of the Ross Sea to be protected. Some 1.12 million sq km will receive the highest level of protection. The balance will be in special research zones where some fishing may still be allowed.

As in many areas of the world, access to fishing has been the stumbling block. In the case of the Ross Sea it is the valuable toothfish treasured not only by fishers but by the Ross Sea killer whales and the entire Ross Sea ecosystem. The toothfish and the battle for the Ross Sea were brilliantly captured in the feature film The Last Ocean by Peter Young. WDC helped sponsor and promote this film which introduced the world to the treasures of the Ross Sea and why it needed to be protected.

The Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) is the culmination of many years work by many individuals and groups, notably Jim Barnes and Claire Christian from the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and penguin scientist David Ainley, It is a tribute to what can be accomplished by those who have a great idea and refuse to give up, no matter how long it takes.

WDC also played a role with the publication of Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises (2004, 2011) which included a detailed case study and mapping proposal for what was then the nascent Ross Sea MPA idea. WDC celebrated the whale populations in the area, not just that it was the stronghold for the ecotype of Ross Sea orcas, but that it had substantial minke whale numbers as well as other whale species, and that it was a largely intact ecosystem, the last of its kind in the southern ocean. The Ross Sea was the jewel of WDC’s original “12 for 2012” MPA campaign — an effort to accelerate habitat protection for whales and dolphins around the world.

The small print on the agreement for the new MPA is that it will need to be revisited and renewed in 35 years. This buys a lot of time for nations of the world to appreciate its value.

For more about the Ross Sea, see http://uk.whales.org/wdc-in-action/proposal-for-marine-protection-of-ross-sea

About Erich Hoyt

Erich is a Research Fellow at WDC and Co-chair of the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force. He is a director of the Far East Russian Orca Project (FEROP). View references to Erich's published material on Google Scholar. Follow Erich on Twitter.