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From One Mother to Another

From One Mother to Another

See the part that is sticking out? It isn't supposed to look like that. Georgia...
Japan’s government agrees to more funding for whale hunts

Japan’s government agrees to more funding for whale hunts

Japan’s Diet (parliament) has passed a law to help support commercial whaling through increased funding...
New research shows bottlenose dolphins turn to the right

New research shows bottlenose dolphins turn to the right

New research has revealed that dolphins have a dominant right-hand side.  The research shows that...
Whalers turn whale watchers

Whalers turn whale watchers

WDC and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Environment Fund are celebrating the launch of...
Moving in the wrong direction: new application would bring belugas to US marine parks

Moving in the wrong direction: new application would bring belugas to US marine parks

Earlier this year, WDC celebrated the passage of a landmark law to ban whale and...
Gratitudes: Nantucket Whaler and WDC

Gratitudes: Nantucket Whaler and WDC

I don’t usually write blogs. It’s not that overseeing fundraising and marketing for our North...
Stunning new whale watching venue to be built in Norway

Stunning new whale watching venue to be built in Norway

New plans to open a land-based whale watching attraction in Norway will promote the amazing...
False killer whale, Kina, dies at Sea Life Park

False killer whale, Kina, dies at Sea Life Park

We’re very sad to share the news that Kina, the false killer whale held at...

Russian orca capture activities moving into high gear — but are captors acting without permits?

The sordid details are now emerging of further orca capture activities in the Russian Far East southwestern Okhotsk Sea. The two orcas captured in mid-July, and reported here earlier, have been shipped to China. And now we have learned that two more orcas were captured in the Okhotsk Sea in late July.

The legality of all four of these captures is in question as the capture quotas for 2014, for 10 more orca captures, were only issued in August, according to Order RPN 4 August 2014 from the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency. After quotas are issued, there would ordinarily be a logistical delay of several days to weeks before permits could be applied for and granted by the local fisheries board.

Yet whether legal or not, this is disheartening news: These orcas quotas are being awarded and the captures are being conducted without essential population studies, against the advice of many orca researchers, and in the face of condemnation by an increasing number of people around the world opposed to splitting up whale and dolphin families in the wild and putting individuals on display for human amusement.

WDC respectfully asks the fisheries inspectors and permit-granting fisheries boards in Russia to provide a factual account of the orcas taken, making public the essential biological information: Size and composition of capture pod; number, sex and size of whales taken or killed during capture; location and day of capture; identification photographs of all marked dorsal fins in the pod for identification and monitoring in future. However, even before obtaining such basic information, fisheries inspectors might well check whether a valid permit is even in place.

We can only hope some of this gets sorted out on 22nd September, at the 8th Marine Mammals of Holarctic International Conference, in St. Petersburg, Russia, when there will be a three-hour roundtable to discuss the issue of whale and dolphin captures in Russia.