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Blue whale at surface

WDC has joined the world’s leading wildlife protection and conservation organisations urging the 88 member countries of the International Whaling Commission (IWC - the body that regulates whaling) to adopt a new 50-Year Vision to save whales, dolphins and porpoises from extinction in the face of increasing ocean threats.

The vision document has been launched on the 75th anniversary of the IWC and has been backed by world renowned conservationist Dr Jane Goodall DBE, UN Messenger of Peace.

Many species are facing an increased threat of extinction because of death in nets, chemical, plastic and noise pollution; marine debris; ship strikes; habitat loss; the urgent climate crisis as well as continued direct persecution from commercial killing and dolphin drive hunts.

Originally established in 1946 to conserve whales in order to maximise hunting quotas, the IWC has since evolved to address many human-made threats that pose an immediate danger for many populations of whales and dolphins. Of the 90 species, 12 subspecies and 28 subpopulations that have been identified and assessed to-date, 22 are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’, 22 as ‘Endangered’ and 16 as ‘Vulnerable’. Without globally co-ordinated conservation actions, many species and populations will go extinct within our lifetimes.

Giving the keynote speech, Dr Jane Goodall DBE said: ‘Some 80% of the world’s oxygen comes from the ocean. Our seas, along with our forests, are literally the lungs of our planet. Tragically, the vast marine habitat is increasingly threatened by our human actions.’

The 50-Year Vision is supported by more than 50 NGOs worldwide, including WDC, the Animal Welfare Institute, Humane Society International, Born Free Foundation, OceanCare, IFAW and Environmental Investigation Agency.

A host of celebrities lent their support at a launch event, with video messages from naturalist and campaigner Chris Packham, actress Dame Judi Dench, Singer Leona Lewis and world-renowned sailor Tracy Edwards MBE.

The NGOs believe the IWC’s 75th anniversary provides the perfect opportunity ahead of its 68th meeting in October 2022 to define a clear 50-year Vision that goes beyond managing whaling and establishes the IWC at the centre of global efforts to conserve all whales and dolphins. The Vision recommends specifically that the IWC maintain the ban on commercial whaling, ensure the whale watching industry is effectively managed, and implement ocean sanctuaries as effective marine protected areas.

Read more on this in our blog

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