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50-Year Vision launched to save whales and dolphins from extinction

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Lone beluga death a warning to stay clear

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New law looks set to ban dolphin shows in France

New legislation in France is set to ban dolphin shows in two years time as...

Deloitte chooses WDC as charity partner to help save whales and save the planet

We are delighted to announce that Whale and Dolphin Conservation has been chosen as a...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
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Sperm whale © Douglas Hoffman

Featured policy news item

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

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Endangered Southern Resident orca loses newborn calf

In heartbreaking news from the Pacific Northwest, the Center for Whale Research has reported that...
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U.S. Defense Bill weakens protections for whales

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

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Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

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Narwhals and Bowhead whales threatened by new Arctic shipping routes

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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

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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

As the Washington State Task Force starts to examine threats to the endangered Southern Resident...
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching

50-Year Vision launched to save whales and dolphins from extinction

WDC has joined the world's leading wildlife protection and conservation organisations urging the 88 member...

Lone beluga death a warning to stay clear

A lone beluga whale that has spent the past two years living close to shore...
Common bottlenose dolphin

New law looks set to ban dolphin shows in France

New legislation in France is set to ban dolphin shows in two years time as...

Deloitte chooses WDC as charity partner to help save whales and save the planet

We are delighted to announce that Whale and Dolphin Conservation has been chosen as a...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings
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...
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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...
hvalfjordur_035

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...

One year on – Japan’s return to whaling hurts us all

Whale in a forest

Japanese whalers have slaughtered 223 whales in the 12 months since the Japanese government announced that it would resume industrial whaling, a decision which marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation believes will contribute to the climate emergency.

Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (the body that regulates whale hunting) at Christmas in 2018, was criticised by governments and environmental organisations across the world.  Boris Johnson condemned the move to recommence the “brutal harpooning of beautiful, intelligent and endangered mammals”[1].  A year later and unofficial off-shore tallies calculate that Japanese whalers have killed 11 minke, 187 Bryde's and 25 sei whales which, if laid end-to-end, would stretch the length of around 37 football pitches.[2]

“The killing of these whales isn’t just cruel, it is senseless,” says Chris Butler-Stroud, chief executive of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.  Whaling is subsidised by the Japanese government, because 95% of Japanese people have little or no appetite for whale meat.  The industry employs only around 300 people.  This has little to do with tradition or culture and everything to do with the domestic politics of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling party. These whales have been killed for politics.”

Japan’s return to commercial whaling comes at a time when there is growing appreciation of the role whales play in tackling the climate emergency.  Whales move vital nutrients around the ocean, fertilizing the phytoplankton that gives us every second breath we take.

“The ocean is the planet’s second lung, and we are only just beginning to understand how whales help to keep it working,” adds Butler-Stroud.  “The killing of whales is as appalling as the burning of rainforests.  Both harm us all, by destroying our allies in tackling the climate crisis at a time when we need them most.”

The international ban on whaling has been described as one of the greatest conservation agreements ever made.  It followed centuries of slaughter which reduced whale populations to a quarter of what they once were and could even have helped to accelerate climate change.  Most whale populations have still not recovered and continue to face threats from hunting, fishing, shipping and pollution.

As Japan prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, the issue of whaling continues cast a shadow over the nation’s reputation.

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/30/not-outrage-japans-barbaric-practice-whaling/

[2] [calculation based on male (i.e. smaller) dimensions and a 90m football pitch].

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About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.

1 Comment

  1. sea-creatures.com on 31st January 2020 at 12:54 pm

    always the same story with japan 🙁

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