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WDC provides supportive care to a live-stranded common dolphin. Credit: Andrea Spence/IFAW

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Expands Marine Mammal Stranding Network Territory

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation team expands the Greater Atlantic Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network...
Hysazu Photography | Sara Shimazu

Dam Good News for Southern Resident orcas

Pardon the pun (we've used it before) but we just can't help ourselves.  After decades...
Peter Flood mom and calf

Emergency Petition Seeks to Shield Right Whale Moms, Calves From Vessel Strikes

For Immediate Release, November 1, 2022 WASHINGTON-Conservation groups filed an emergency rulemaking petition with the...
The Yushin Maru catcher ship of the Japanese whaling fleet injures a whale with its first harpoon attempt, and takes a further three harpoon shots before finally killing the badly injured fleeing whale. Finally they drowned the mammal beneath the harpooon deck of the ship to kill it.  Southern Ocean.  07.01.2006

Moves to overturn whaling ban rejected

Last week, the 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC, the body that regulates...

NOAA Blocks Import of Russian Belugas into the US

WDC is elated to announce the recent decision by the US Government (NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service-NMFS) to deny the Georgie Aquarium’s import permit request for the importation of 18 wild-captured belugas from Russia.  WDC was at the forefront of efforts to oppose the permit, and heralds this significant decision as critical to  the protection of this species from further depletions by denying a US market for such captive whales.

NOAA’s decision memo to deny the import permit outlines the Georgia Aquarium’s failure to demonstrate that the import will not have a significant adverse impact on the species or stock; the import will not likely result in the taking of belugas beyond those authorized by permit; and that five of the belugas proposed for import were not still nursing and dependent upon their mothers.  Failure to prove these requirements under permitting regulations renders the permit request in violation and contravention of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The global capture and trade in whales and dolphins for captivity continues to threaten their health and welfare in the wild, and with the denial of this permit, NMFS has recognized this threat and endorsed the overwhelming public sentiment against this activity.  The removal of live whales and dolphins from the wild for captive display is equivalent to deliberate killing, as the animals are no longer available to help maintain their natural populations. Captures are violent, and cause distress, physical harm, and even death to not only those animals captured, but for the ones left behind. In addition, the stress of transport may result in injury or death. And finally, removal for captivity represents a different form of death for these animals—a permanent life of sensory, social and physical deprivation in concrete pools.

This permit request represents a significant departure from how US facilities have been acquiring whales and dolphins for public display over the past several decades and represents the direct planning and commissioning of these captures from the wild by US facilities in an attempt to circumvent legal protections. It also reveals that captive beluga populations are not self-sustaining, supporting an ongoing requirement for their capture and removal from the wild in the future to stock facilities.