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Risso's dolphins are captured in Taiji hunt. Image: LIA and Dolphin Project

Heartbreak and practical action – the horror of the Taiji dolphin hunts and one Japanese activist’s determination

Back in November, I shared my heartache at the drama unfolding in the waters off...
Common Dolphin

Goodbye Bycatch – what have we achieved and what’s next?

Thank you to everyone who's got involved with our campaign to stop dolphins, porpoises and...
Haul of sea bass on French pair trawlers, Le Baron and Magellan, fishing in the English channel. Greenpeace is currently in the English channel protesting against pelagic pair trawling due to the high numbers of dolphin deaths associated with it.

Seaspiracy

Ali and Lucy Tabrizi's Netflix film Seaspiracy is compelling viewing for anyone who cares for...
Porpoise, Conwy Wales. WDC

Why do porpoises and dolphins find it so difficult to avoid fishing nets?

When a dolphin or porpoise is caught or entangled in fishing gear it's known as...
WDC NA

Reflection – what this remarkable whale teaches us about humpbacks and their fascinating lives

Reflection, like all humpback whales, was born with a unique black and white pattern on...

Meet the brainiacs of the underwater world – deep thinkers with intricate emotional lives

Whales and dolphins have big brains, and large brained beings have a few things in...

Growing up with the amazing Adelaide Port River dolphins

Squeak, one of the Port River dolphins If you are able to make a donation,...

Real lives lost – the true dolphin, porpoise and whale stories behind the bycatch statistics

Every dolphin, porpoise and whale who dies in fishing gear was an individual with their...

Bycatch responsible for two more species being placed on the Endangered List!

Unfortunately, 2017 is not turning out to be a great year for whales, dolphins and porpoises with the numbers of some species dropping to worrying levels. Added to the list of “endangered” species by the IUCN are the Irrawaddy dolphin and the finless porpoise both having had their numbers more than halved over the last 60 and 45 years respectively.

When the baiji was declared functionally extinct (meaning that even if one or two individuals survived the future of the species is in doubt) in 2007 the world mourned and the realisation that human-induced extinction of a dolphin species became a reality. Sadly however, it appears the lesson has not been learned as now, a mere ten years later, not only is the vaquita on the very brink of extinction – with less than 35 of these little porpoises left – but now another little porpoise, the narrow-ridged finless porpoise, found only in coastal waters from Korea and Japan south to the southern East China Sea and in the Yangtze River, has joined the unenviable rank of “Endangered” and all because of the use of static fishing nets which entangle them, and habitat destruction.

Joining this little porpoise and others on the list is the Irrawaddy dolphin, a charismatic and relatively small dolphin that is (or was) found across the coastal Indian Ocean from India to Indonesia as well as in several freshwater rivers and lakes. Over the years the population numbers of those inhabiting freshwater habitats have been declining rapidly as they’ve competed with humans for both space and food. For some time now they have been listed as critically endangered but now, their marine cousins are close to joining them with their status being elevated from vulnerable to endangered. Gill-nets have been the number one cause of death for these little dolphins and in some areas, only a handful remain.

The preference of both these species for coastal, estuarine and freshwater habitats where they live in close proximity to humans, has put them at risk from development (including dams and barrages) and deadly interactions with fishing nets. Their decline is a direct result of human activity.

How many more dolphin and porpoise species must go extinct before Governments sit up and listen, but more importantly take action?

Please make a donation to support our work to protect endangered whales and dolphins and their homes. Thank you.

Nicola Hodgins

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC