Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Stop whaling
SeaWorld parts company with another CEO

SeaWorld parts company with another CEO

Troubled marine park operator, SeaWorld has parted company with yet another CEO. Gus Antorcha, who...
Antibiotic resistance in dolphins mirrors trend seen in humans

Antibiotic resistance in dolphins mirrors trend seen in humans

Samples collected from dolphins by scientists over a 12 year period indicate that dolphins may...
Senate Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Save the North Atlantic Right Whale

Senate Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Save the North Atlantic Right Whale

After a deadly summer for North Atlantic right whales, Senators Booker (D-NJ), Isakson (R-GA) and...
Canada to move two captive belugas to theme park in Spain

Canada to move two captive belugas to theme park in Spain

Two captive beluga whales are to be moved from the Marineland theme park in Canada...
The Summer of Scylla

The Summer of Scylla

You know how every once in awhile, you meet someone and you just click? You...
New beaked whale species discovered in Japan

New beaked whale species discovered in Japan

A new species of beaked whale who lives in the North Pacific has been identified...
Preparations continue for release of beluga whales into sanctuary bay

Preparations continue for release of beluga whales into sanctuary bay

Little Grey and Little White continue to do well and have settled into their temporary...
Southern Resident Orca Scat Project: update from the field

Southern Resident Orca Scat Project: update from the field

Dr. Giles, a scientist with the Orca Scat Project, and CK9 Eba on the scent...

Two orcas taken in illegal capture in Russia

Two killer whales were captured in recent weeks in Nikolaya Gulf, in the southwestern Sea of Okhotsk, the Russian Far East. The captors are reporting that the orcas were actually taken in 2013 and spent the winter in Nikolaya Gulf. This is impossible because the Gulf is completely frozen in winter. Word is that the orcas are being transported toward Komsomolsk-on-Amur, 356 km NE of Khabarovsk. Final destination is unknown.

“These captures appear to be illegal,” says Erich Hoyt, WDC research fellow and co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project which has been studying orcas in the Kamchatka area for 15 years. “No quotas have yet been issued for orca captures in 2014, following disagreements between the Russian fisheries board and the scientific advisory board in Russia who recommended zero captures. Without a quota which is necessary to get a permit, the captures would be illegal.”

Seven killer whales have been taken in the Sea of Okhotsk since late 2012. This new capture brings the overall total since 2002 to 15 orcas, according to a paper presented to the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee in Slovenia in May.

“These are mostly Bigg’s or transient-type orcas who have been captured,” says Hoyt. “We don’t have any abundance estimates of orcas living in the Sea of Okhotsk, so these captures are being conducted in the dark and against the advice of killer whale scientists inside and outside of Russia.”

The killer whale scientists at the IWC committee meeting noted in their paper that “the live-capture of killer whales raises concerns because it targets the same local stock of transient killer whales in the western Okhotsk Sea. Russian officials deny the existence of killer whale ecotypes in the Russian Far East, and consequently do not manage fish-eating and mammal-eating killer whales as different management units. No reliable abundance estimates of either killer whale ecotype in the Okhotsk Sea are available.”

[Reference: Filatova, O.A., Shpak, O.V., Ivkovich, T.V., Borisova, E.A., Burdin, A.M., Hoyt, E. 2014. Killer whale status and live-captures in the waters of the Russian Far East. IWC Scientific Committee, Slovenia, 5pp (SC/65b/SM07)]