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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...

Future of European dolphins lies in EU Fisheries Committee hands TODAY!

Today (on Tuesday afternoon), MEPs from across Europe will vote on a range of fisheries measures aimed to conserve fish stocks, habitats and protected species. The vote will include measures to protect dolphins, porpoises and whales, as well as seabirds, seals and turtles, from incidental entanglement in fishing gear.

Many thousands of dolphins, porpoises and whales die due to bycatch in European waters every year. Here is our briefing on the necessary cetacean bycatch requirements to change this. Better – or worse – future bycatch measures are in the hands of those MEPs who sit on the EU Fisheries Committee.

The conservation groups that we work with in Europe have produced a full report on all the required fisheries measures.

The existing cetacean bycatch regulation is not as good as it could be, and compliance is not as good as it should be, as identified in this new WDC report. So the draft technical conservation measures are a welcome and desperately needed opportunity, except some MEPs are expected to take this opportunity to vote to remove and to weaken existing measures.

We have great concern that unless the bycatch language is significantly strengthened, the repeal of the existing Regulation and adoption of the new technical conservation measures may result in even higher numbers of dolphins, porpoises and whales dying in fishing gear in European waters. This will especially threaten the critically endangered harbour porpoise population in the Baltic Sea and vulnerable harbour porpoise, bottlenose and common dolphin populations in South Western waters.

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE DICTATES WE NEED TO DO MORE

European and global dolphin bycatch and fisheries experts have written this EXPERT OPEN LETTER calling for better monitoring of fishing fleets and better measures to prevent deaths in all European seas. This call is echoed by the European Regional Agreements for the conservation of cetaceans, ASCOBANS and ACCOBAMS, in their correspondence to the Commission about improving bycatch measures, back in 2016.

With our colleagues at HSI and EIA, we also wrote this piece including on the dire situation for Baltic harbour porpoises that could be prove to be the final nail in the coffin if existing measures are removed. 

The next step after this vote is for the measures to be voted in Plenary session in European Parliament, or to be negotiated behind closed doors between PECH and the Council. We will report back once the vote has taken place. You can watch the vote live, from 2.30pm today, on Tuesday 21st November.