Skip to content
Humpback whale with calf

Scientists solve mystery of whale song

One of the big mysteries surrounding exactly how some of the great whales are able...
Common dolphin (delphinus delphis) Gulf of California Mexico.

Alpha Travel Insurance supports WDC’s journey to save and protect whales and dolphins across the globe

Alpha Travel Insurance is inspiring globe trotters to make more sustainable choices wherever their adventure...
Iberian and Baltic harbour porpoises face extinction without urgent action

Success! We help secure higher protection for endangered porpoise at UN meeting

Iberian and Baltic harbour porpoises face extinction without urgent action We are very excited to...
Part of the new exhibition space at the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre

Listen to whales at our new exhibition

We are thrilled to unveil a brand-new interactive exhibition at the Scottish Dolphin Centre in...

Success! Ban on sandeel fishing will save starving porpoises


The fishing of sandeels in Scottish waters and within certain English waters in the North Sea is to be banned, a move welcomed WDC as is it will save many porpoises.

The North Sea sandeel fishery has a critical impact on harbour porpoises in the region as they gather in this area for mating and calving in the spring and summer and heavily rely on sandeels as a food source. The fishing of sandeels forces porpoises to seek out less nutritious prey with researchers citing less sandeels leading to lethal starvation and decreased survival of young. This ban will also benefit minke whales and white beaked dolphins who also rely on sandeels as a food source.

WDC has been pushing hard for a full closure of the sandeel fishery in the North Sea over the last two years, feeding into a government consultation by leading on the issue of impacts on this porpoise population.

This new ban will apply to all vessels of any nationality, and it will be effective from 26 March 2024, before the start of the next sandeel fishing season.

Sandeel populations have taken a hit due to industrial fishing and climate change. They play a vital role in the marine ecosystem and biodiversity, and are an important food source for many other species, including seabirds and fish.

Commercial fishing for sandeel is currently carried out entirely by European vessels with no fishing quota allocated to UK vessels since 2021.