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End Bycatch - stop deaths in fishing gear

Accidental entanglement in fishing nets and gear is the biggest global threat to whales, dolphins and porpoises. Known as ‘bycatch’, this unintentional capture kills hundreds of thousands of individuals every year. You can help end the suffering.

Hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins and porpoises die in fishing gear every year
Hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins and porpoises die in fishing gear every year

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, WDC is working hard to stop these tragic deaths. We work with the fishing industry to modify fishing practices to reduce risk of entanglement, engage fishing communities to find solutions that will protect whales and dolphins and advise governments on legislation that will save whale and dolphin lives.

To save hundreds of thousands of individuals a year needs a massive joint effort and we all have a part to play. You can play yours.

Introduction to bycatch

There is no area of ocean where this is not a serious issue. You can help us stop the unseen suffering by supporting a campaign or making a donation.

Getting trapped in fishing gear is a horrific way to die. Like us, whales and dolphins can't breathe underwater. They panic and can endure terrible wounds and broken bones as they try to escape. When they can’t struggle any more, they close their blowhole and suffocate.

Illustration of gillnet and trawl nets trapping dolphins.
Thousands of porpoises and dolphins die in gillnets and trawl netes each year.

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Those who do escape can live short and painful lives, dying as a result of their injuries.

Bycatch has pushed entire species, such as the vaquita, Maui dolphin and the North Atlantic right whale, to the brink of extinction.

If this was happening on land there would be outcry. Help us stop this unseen suffering.

Illustration showing large whales caught in fishing gear.
Large whales, such as the endangered North Atlantic right whale, also get entangled in fishing gear.

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Sarah Dolman leads WDC's End Bycatch programme. Sarah has a master's degree in fisheries science and has been part of the WDC team, working on a variety of issues, since 1995. Sarah and the team work to develop progressive policy to reduce whale and dolphin deaths in fishing gear.