English plastic bag charges are good news for whales and dolphins

As of today, many shoppers in England will have to pay 5p for plastic carrier bags in a bid to tackle the environmental issues associated with the 7.6 billion bags handed out every year.

England is the last part of the UK to introduce the laws that will mean shoppers at all supermarkets and large shops will have to use their own bags or be charged instore for plastic ones.

This is good news for whales and dolphins says WDC’s head of science, Nicola Hodgins.

Health of captive orcas in doubt after marine park is hit by flooding

Floods that have devastated parts of the south of France over the weekend have also caused substantial damage to Europe’s largest marine theme park (see french news video below).

Tanks holding orcas at Marineland in Antibes have reportedly been polluted after filling with muddy flood waters and electrical supplies in the area have also been affected, raising fears for the survival of the marine mammals there.

Marineland was in the news recently when, Freya (pictured), a female orca died after spending almost her entire life in captivity.

Rare sei whale washes up on UK coast

A dead 13m sei whale, a species of baleen whale, was sighted off the coast of Northern Ireland earlier this week before coming ashore at Portstewart Strand.

Despite being found throughout the world's oceans, little is known about these whales compared with others although large numbers were hunted by whalers. They can sometimes be confused with sightings of other similar sized whales. It is currently unknown what the cause of death was.

Iceland offers whale watch trips to refugees

Syrian refugees coming into Iceland will be taken on whale watching trips as part of an integration programme adopted by the Icelandic Red Cross.

The trips will enable Red Cross workers to build connections and trust with those entering Iceland many of whom will arrive having suffered both physical and mental stress.

Japan targets tourists to boost falling whale meat sales

Event organizers and restaurants in Japan are now striving to promote whale meat to overseas visitors.

Twenty eight restaurants taking part in the October Ebisu Kujira Festival in Tokyo’s Ebisu district plan to showcase whale meat dishes in a bid to attract tourists. For the first time this year, the event is seeking to entertain overseas visitors with chefs serving a variety of whale-based food.

Despite an international ban on commercial whaling, Japan has continued to kill whales under an exemption for ‘research’. However, much of the meat ends up on sale to the public.

New Zealand declares new marine sanctuary

New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key has announced that 620,000 square kilometres of ocean within its exclusive economic zone will be protected with the declaration of the new Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. Activities such as fishing and mining will be prohibited in the sanctuary.

The area covered by the sanctuary lies to the north east of the country towards Tonga and is home to at least 35 species of whale and dolphin as well as a host of other marine life and bird species.

Norwegian whalers kill 660 minke whales

The Norwegian whaling season has ended and, according to reports within the country, 660 minke whales have been killed between April and the end of September.

Poor weather conditions played a part in limiting the slaughter, which was down from 736 whales killed last year.

US and China to discuss protected sea area in Antarctica

Ocean conservation will be discussed in meetings this week between government officials from the United States and China. According to a White House statement, the two nations intend to pursue active cooperation on polar and ocean matters, including projects related to ocean conservation and expanding joint polar research efforts.

US aquarium loses court battle to import beluga whales

Georgia Aquarium has lost a legal battle to bring wild caught beluga whales from Russia to the United States.

The Aquarium had been trying to overturn a US federal decision which initially denied its request to import 18 whales captured in Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, on the grounds that the Aquarium had not met conditions required to approve its controversial plan.


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