WDC aims and objectives

Over the coming years we are focusing on the following key programmes to help whales and dolphins.

Stop Whaling

Goal:  To reduce the numbers killed and the numbers of countries whaling.

 In recent years we have: 

  • Stopped an illegal export of whale meat from Iceland to Japan
  • Helped reduce consumption of whalemeat in Iceland- by both Icelanders and tourists
  • Helped stop all attempts to re-start legal commercial whaling
  • Stopped illegal trade of whale meat sold in Germany and Denmark
  • Exposed Greenland’s ‘aboriginal’ quota as commercial, and helped prevent expansion of this type of hunting

Our focus now is on:

  • Achieving culture change in Iceland and the Faroes: changing opinion and reducing consumption
  • Continuing to build international, political, legal and economic pressure  to end Japan’s whaling programme
  • Continuing to use the International Whaling Commission and other high level agreements and forums to fight attempts to bring back commercial whaling
Tall blow of blue whale
Tall blow of blue whale

End Captivity

Goal: to reduce the numbers held in captivity and develop sanctuaries, or release programmes, for those held.

In recent years we have:

  • Campaigned for holiday companies to stop selling trips to Seaworld and other aquaria; leading to the Virgin pledge for all aquaria to stop imports of wild caught whales and dolphins
  • Helped prevent a dolphin circus opening in the Czech Republic
  • Blocked the import of beluga whales to the US
  • Created blueprints for Sanctuaries for ex-captive whales and dolphins
  • Helped achieve a total ban on dolphins in captivity in India, Croatia, Slovenia and other countries
  • Persuaded 40 major airlines, not to transport dolphins caught in Japanese dolphin hunts
  • Achieved a ban on members of the Japanese  Association of Zoos and Aquaria taking dolphins from the infamous ‘cove’ hunts.

Our focus now is on: 

  • Opening sanctuaries and exploring opportunities to return ex-captive dolphins to the wild
  • Phasing out dolphin captivity in Germany
  • Increasing public support for an end to captivity in key countries, including the US, China and Japan
  • Decreasing demand for live caught whales and dolphins
  • Persuading tour operators to break links with the captivity industry 
  • Preventing whales and dolphins being taken from vulnerable populations and species
Pod of orcas travelling
Pod of orcas travelling

Homes for whales and dolphins

Goal: To increase the number of effective protected areas for whales and dolphins in national waters and on the high seas.

In recent years we have:

  • Successfully lobbied the Scottish government to double the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) for whales and dolphins
  • Successfully lobbied the US government to increase protective measures for right whales, including expanding protected habitat by 40,000 sq. miles.
  • Helped Australia create the largest ever network of MPAs
  • Helped Bangladesh create an MPA
  • Persuaded Scottish power companies not to explore for oil in core dolphin habitats

Our focus now is on:

  • Designing and implementing  Important Marine Mammal Areas  (IMMAs) on the high seas
  • Getting the New Zealand government to increase protection for endangered maui and hectors dolphins
  • Building on our success protecting right whales in the US: enabling an increase in the population
  • Helping to implementing an MPA for blue whales off the coast of Costa Rica
  • Reducing whale deaths from ship strikes off the north-east coast of the US
  • Achieving MPAs in EU waters, with particular focus on harbour porpoises, minkes and rissos
  • Achieving an MPA for river dolphins in Latin America
  • Increasing protective measures for orcas off the US west coast
New Zealand dolphin
New Zealand dolphin

Ending Bycatch

Goal: To reduce the number of whale and dolphins killed and injured through entanglement in fishing.

In recent years we have:

  • Helped ban -or change - damaging fishing practices that can kill whales and dolphins

This is a new programme for WDC.  Our focus now is on:

  • Understanding and measuring the full extent of deaths in fishing nets:  How many are dying, and how; and creating measures to reduce the number of deaths
  • Promoting responsible gear types and fishing practice in UK waters
  • Reducing  whale entanglements off the north-east coast of the US.
  • Reducing bycatch in New Zealand
Harbour porpoise at surface
Harbour porpoise at surface

Rights for whales and dolphins

Goal: To gain the recognition of the rights of whales and dolphins.

In recent years we have:

  • Helped developed a declaration on rights for whales and dolphins (to sign please visit www.cetaceanrights.org) 
  • Promoted the science of culture at international fora; embedding the idea of conservation measures based on unique cultures as well as population size

 Our focus now is on: 

  • Establishing legal personhood for a captive orca
  • Gathering and promoting scientific and philosophical support for rights for whales and dolphins
  • Practical conservation measures in binding international forums based on whale and dolphin culture

Have a look at some of the successes from the past year.