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Majestic fin whales

Icelandic whalers kill first fin whales in four years

As feared, whale hunters in Iceland have killed at least two fin whales, the first...
hvalur-8-whaling-vessel

Majority of Icelandic people think whaling harms their country’s reputation

A survey of Icelandic people has confirmed that the majority believe whaling damages Iceland's reputation. ...
A magnificent sei whale © Christopher Swann

Japan Begins Commercial Whaling Season

Sei whale © Christopher Swann Japanese whalers have left port to begin this year's annual...

Pumps and conveyor belts. How could more whales help save us?

University of Alaska Fairbanks Master's student, Dana Bloch, retrieves a CTD that is used to...

Arrests made in Russia following illegal whale trafficking scandal

Law enforcement agencies in Russia have conducted searches at the TINRO Centre (the office of the Federal State Budget Scientific Institution) and detained its director, Lev Bocharov.

Mr Bocharov is accused of the illegal export of beluga whales and orcas involving payments of millions of rubles. Reports suggest that up to 42 million rubles were received in exchange for the sale of 10 wild beluga whales to China.

The Federal State Budget Scientific Institution have been criticised by Russian authorities for ‘misuse’ of these belugas, which were captured for so-called educational and cultural purpose. However, it appears that they were sold on to a third party and then exported out of Russia for commercial use in captivity shows in China.

In November 2015, the environmental prosecutors office issued a warning to the TINRO Centre regarding the movement of captured orcas for scientific purposes across Russian Federation customs borders. These orcas should not have been sold on for commercial purposes.

These illegal deals have been driven by increasing demand from China for marine mammals like beluga whales and orcas. Some orcas are fetching up to $7m and, according to reports from Russia, 13 orcas were sold between 2013 and 2016.

WDC’s Erich Hoyt said  ‘A lot of money is changing hands and whale families are being split up without any thought of what happens after these captures. It is really time for these activities, whether legal or illegal, to stop.’

More on orcas held in Chinese marine parks.

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