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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...

A UK manifesto for whales and dolphins

Ahead of the UK’s general election on 8th June, WDC recommends three achievable and critical steps to directly improve the welfare and protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the next Parliament. 

These recommendations include the UK continuing to lead international action to end commercial whaling. For decades, the UK has been a leading voice for whales and dolphins within the International Whaling Commission (IWC), providing leadership and expertise. The UK has represented the British public (where a recent WDC petition on the issue garnered some 267,000 signatures) in their desire to see the end of commercial whaling and appropriate controls on traditional whaling by native peoples.

In UK waters, we recommend supporting fishermen so all boats fairly apply stronger practices to monitor and reduce the accidental catching of dolphins, porpoises and whales in fishing gear. The UK has the most robust and long-term bycatch and strandings monitoring scheme in Europe. Resulting evidence demonstrates that thousands of dolphins and porpoises continue to accidentally die in fishing gear in UK waters each year. Non-UK boats operating in UK water may apply weaker practices. The EU is currently revising its regulations and evidence shows that further efforts are needed to reduce bycatch. If you haven’t already, please sign our petition to stop dolphins, porpoises and whales dying in fishing gear in UK waters.

More generally, we recommend maintaining and improving evidence-based protection of wildlife in UK waters, including in our marine protected areas (MPAs) network. For example, Bottlenose dolphin Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) established in the 1990s have provided essential protection, including robust and evidenced management that has not unduly restricted sustainable marine activities. The Moray Firth bottlenose dolphins, protected with an SAC, bring more than £4 million into the UK economy annually. In 2016, the UK and Scottish governments designated harbour porpoise SACs and, in addition, potential marine conservation zones include a site to help protect habitat for white-beaked dolphins. If well managed, these sites will make an important contribution to the developing ecologically coherent network of MPAs in UK waters.

If acted on, our recommendations would protect thousands of whales, dolphins and porpoises from cruelty and death. We believe there would be relatively little additional cost if not net benefit to the UK economy and industry from these actions. 

WDC also supports the calls of Wildlife and Countryside Link, of which we are a member, that restore and enhance whale, dolphin and porpoise habitat and ecosystem. 

We would ask all those who want to see a world safe and free for whales and dolphins to consider all the issues above before you cast your vote. If you are feeling confident then, politely, challenge any candidates you meet to ask what they will be doing for whales and dolphins and our marine environment?

When you get a chance, please also circulate this blog by social media before the general election and help us to secure a world safe and free for every whale and dolphin.