Skip to content

The Green Whale

Save the .

Whales and dolphins are remarkable. But why are they so important? Why do we need to end captivity, stop whaling, prevent deaths in fishing gear, and protect their homes, the seas and rivers of the world?

Whales play an amazing role in an ecosystem that keeps every creature on Earth alive, including you!

Humans have done enormous damage to the planet including killing millions of whales and wiping out up to...


...of some populations.

Yet few people, let alone governments, are aware that recovering whale and dolphin populations can undo some of the damage we’ve caused.

How whales support the marine ecosystem.

Whales act as 'ecosystem engineers'. As they dive deep to feed, and then come to the surface to breathe and poo, they circulate huge amounts of nutrients, particularly iron and nitrogen . Whale poo is a brilliant fertiliser for microscopic plants called phytoplankton, which, as the basis for the entire marine ecosystem, remove millions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere and produce massive amounts of oxygen. This is known as the "Whale Pump".

Whales as ecosystem engineers - the Whale Pump

As whales undertake their long migrations, from nutrient rich areas to nutrient poor areas, they transport essential nutrients across the ocean in a process known as the “Great Whale Conveyor Belt”.

Save the .

You can make a big impact on one of the world’s biggest challenges, by getting behind the world’s biggest creatures.

Whether you are an individual or a company find out how by supporting WDC you can help solve the climate crisis.

It is estimated that as a direct result of whaling, the current populations of large baleen whales now store over 9 million tons less carbon than before whaling.


Experiments showed that whale faeces are some of the most iron-rich material in the ocean. The higher the concentrations of whale poo, the greater the productivity of phytoplankton. 

By circulating nutrients and fertilising phytoplankton with their poo, sperm whales in the Southern Ocean help sequester over 19M trees worth of carbon.


If blue whales in the Southern Ocean recovered to pre-whaling levels, they could provide enough nutrients for phytoplankton to store over 6 billion trees worth of carbon.

Carbon in the atmosphere is a significant cause of climate change.

Climate change is the greatest threat to all life on Earth.

So, the more whales there are, the more phytoplankton there is, and the more carbon is taken out of the atmosphere.

Even in death, whales sustain life. When they die, whales sink to the seabed, where they become oases for marine life, taking huge amounts of carbon with them to the sea-bed. Researchers estimate that large whales store approximately nine million tonnes less carbon now than they did before large-scale whaling.

Whale Fall - When whales die they still help combat the climate crisis.

Find out more about how whales are key in helping us fight the biodiversity and climate crisis.

Latest news and views

Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions that affect whales (and more recently dolphins and porpoises too) ... and what happens to...

COP26: Did we persuade world leaders to listen to the ocean?

As the dust settles after the United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow, it's a good moment to reflect on what we achieved there for whales, dolphins and the ocean....
This dolphin was trapped in a plastic ring but, thankfully, successfully freed. Photograph was taken by Q. Gibson, University of North Florida, under the authority of NMFS LOC No. 14157

To save whales, dolphins and the world, we need a global treaty on plastic pollution

Millions of tonnes of plastic enter the environment every year impacting ecosystems and species. Plastic has been found in the air, rain, our bodies and our food chain. Emissions of plastic waste into our rivers...