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Long-finned pilot whale

Pilot whales strand in New Zealand

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Norway takes action to save porpoises from death in nets

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All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
Sperm whale © Douglas Hoffman

Featured policy news item

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Iceland flouts international ban to slaughter first protected fin whale of new hunting season

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Southern Resident orca L92 missing as community returns to the Salish Sea

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New actions in the Northwest to help Southern Resident orcas and salmon

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All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching
Long-finned pilot whale

Pilot whales strand in New Zealand

Volunteer rescuers from Project Jonah, experts in attending strandings, were able to return nearly 30...
harbour-porpoise-chesil-beach-csip-zsl

Norway takes action to save porpoises from death in nets

In what the government describes as a rapid regulatory change, fishers in parts of Norway...
Photo by WDC

Go Team Ocean! The Cheeky Panda makes a splash for World Whale Day

Photo by Dr. Cara Miller On Sunday 21st February, in honour of World Whale Day,...
Common dolphin with injuries from fishing net

WDC highlights how UK Government can save a dolphin a day

Based on recent figures, it is estimated that around 1,000 porpoises, hundreds of dolphins and...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
Sperm whale © Douglas Hoffman

Featured policy news item

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc magna elit, gravida at lectus vitae,...
sea_world_orlando_rob_lott

Holiday giant Thomas Cook stops selling tickets to Seaworld and Loro Parque

Holiday giant Thomas Cook stops selling tickets to Seaworld and Loro Parque Following a three...

Endangered Southern Resident orca loses newborn calf

In heartbreaking news from the Pacific Northwest, the Center for Whale Research has reported that...
srkw_shoup_2003_text

U.S. Defense Bill weakens protections for whales

24 July 2018, Plymouth, MA: The FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act conference report was released...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...
f0k5103-2

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...
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One step closer to more salmon for endangered Southern Resident orcas

On June 28, 2018, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) filed “The Definite Plan” for...
monodon_monoceros-wdc3

Narwhals and Bowhead whales threatened by new Arctic shipping routes

A NASA-funded study has warned that marine creatures like whales and dolphins will be exposed...
japanese_whaling_2005_-_minke_whales_credit_jeremy_sutton-hibbert_for_use_until_28.2.17_1

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...
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Iceland flouts international ban to slaughter first protected fin whale of new hunting season

Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf has slaughtered an endangered fin whale today in defiance of...
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Southern Resident orca L92 missing as community returns to the Salish Sea

We are very sad to share news announced today by the Center for Whale Research...
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New actions in the Northwest to help Southern Resident orcas and salmon

As the Washington State Task Force starts to examine threats to the endangered Southern Resident...

UK’s wildlife police unit launch public awareness drive with WDC to counter increasing dolphin disturbance

Getting too close to dolphins can cause them stress

As the holiday season approaches, increasing reports of dolphin disturbance incidents in the waters around the UK involving members of the public have prompted WDC to launch a new public information drive in partnership with the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) - a dedicated British police department that gathers intelligence on wildlife crime.

Of particular concern is the lack of awareness of the existing laws around disturbance by members of the public using boats, jet skis, or who attempt to jump in and swim with dolphins in the seas around the UK. This leads to a worrying lack of reporting of incidents, which are on the increase but thought to be much higher because many boat users and holiday makers simply do not know what the rules are or how to report incidents they witness.

Surprisingly, the only region where incidences of disturbance are recorded to the appropriate level of detail currently is in Cornwall, where 136 incidences were reported to the Cornwall Marine and Coastal Code Group hotline in 2017. Prosecutions are rare, yet disturbance is a regular occurrence over the summer months when the waters are busy and coastal wildlife is most accessible.

WDC staff and volunteers regularly witness disturbance first-hand and receive many reports from concerned marine wildlife enthusiasts, which has prompted the new awareness drive.

‘Our key aim is to stop disturbance before it happens by raising awareness of the issues’, says Alice Walters, WDC policy officer.

UK seas are a special place for dolphins and whales, being home to 21 species, more than anywhere else in northern Europe. They are also a rapidly growing destination for marine recreation and tourism, which is increasing levels of disturbance. Disturbance happens when people get too close to marine wildlife, disrupt their natural behaviours and cause them stress.

‘Significant human disturbance, or harassment, is illegal and can drive dolphins from the places that are important for them’, Walters continues.

‘Everyone is excited to encounter whales and dolphins. Social media interest, particularly around unusual sightings such as orca, humpbacks and the Thames beluga nicknamed “Benny”, can draw crowds of people, all hoping to get a close view. They can be unaware of how to behave around them, so most disturbance is unintentional. A good encounter is one that is enjoyable for you and the whales or dolphins.’

Chief Inspector Lou Hubble , NWCU, added; ‘Wildlife watching is an amazing experience and it can be very easy to get lost in the moment. If your behaviour has a detrimental effect on an dolphin you could be committing an offence.‎ Give marine mammals space to exhibit natural behaviours in their natural environment without harassment or disturbance .  Keep your distance, show respect and be responsible.’

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