Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
Clear the list graphic

Clear WDC’s Amazon Wishlist for Giving Tuesday

The holiday season is knocking on our doors and Giving Tuesday is coming up soon!...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...
The Codfather being good with Anvil kick feeding right next to them_0761 branded

Spout Spotters: Boater Safety Around Whales Online Course Launches

After countless hours behind the computer, bountiful snacks, and a few stress relieving walks with...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
65556ab2635fdab7b4e12265b9623d64

Stream to Sea: Orca Action Month 2022

This June was an exceptionally busy and exciting Orca Month, starting with a somewhat surprising...
We need whale poo ? WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...

It’s Time To Breach The Snake River Dams

The Snake River dams were controversial even before they were built.  While they were still...
Nat Geo for Disney+ Luis Lamar

Five Facts About Orcas

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are one of the most recognizable and popular species...

Whales in a Changing Ocean Conference Marks Year of the Whale Celebrations in the Pacific

The preliminary results from the second Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) workshop in Samoa (27-31 March), have been presented at the “Whales in a Changing Ocean” conference held in Tonga (4-6 April). The IMMA workshop is part of a series of workshops co-sponsored by WDC, Tethys Research Institute and the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task force while the “Whales in a Changing Ocean” conference was hosted by SPREP and the government of Tonga and co-sponsored with the Auckland Institute of Studies and many others.

The conference formed the centerpiece of SPREP’s Year of the Whale celebrations in the South Pacific. The conference brought together leaders of Pacific Island countries with researchers and conservationists to discuss future collaborations on the conservation of whales in the region, preparatory to the renewal of SPREP’s marine species programme. During the conference, the scientific work on whales and the economic value of whales in the Pacific islands, including whale watching, was reviewed and emerging threats to whales from changes occurring in the ocean were assessed.

At the start of the conference, the government of Tonga set the tone by announcing that it was formally declaring all Tongan waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary. This initiative aims to achieve greater recognition and protection for species that provide substantial income within Tonga and the region, and that help to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

The conference had several results of value to the region.

The country representatives formulated and agreed on a declaration to strengthen whale conservation across the Pacific. Full text of the declaration is here. Currently, 11 countries that are SPREP members have formally signed the declaration: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu. These countries, as well as conference participants, agreed to cooperate to prepare the 2018-2023 Whale and Dolphin Action Plan that will provide a framework for conservation activities in the Pacific islands region.

In addition, three main recommendations emerged from the conference, based on working group sessions, in support of protecting whales and their habitats by improving scientific research, addressing threats to whales and promoting best practice whale watching. 

  1. SCIENCE: To, by December 2020, establish a validated inventory of whale and dolphin species, genetic distinctiveness and habitat use for each nation/territory of the SPREP region to improve understanding of ecological roles, economic and cultural values and better inform management.
  2. THREATS: That Pacific Island countries and territories, by 2022, enact protected areas to prevent the disturbance of marine mammals mindful of national targets, based on science and using precautionary approaches, and implement regional and national cetacean action plans.
  3. WHALE WATCHING: To establish, by June 2019, an annual whale celebration event across the Pacific that becomes a focal point for education and promoting best practice.

In addition, delegates agreed to support a regional perspective to be delivered at several upcoming international fora, notably the United Nations Oceans Conference in June.