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Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Over 250 pilot whales have stranded on a sandbar in a remote part of Tasmania...
Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

J35 and J57. Photo by Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 Tahlequah...
Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Orcas are one of only five species known to experience menopause and females can live...
Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Wildlife experts in Australia's Northern Territory are monitoring a humpback whale that has travelled 18...
WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

Scientists from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, along with over 250 other experts from 40 countries,...
Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Rastus Dr Nicolette Scourse is an academic, educator, author and illustrator with a passion for...
BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE:  Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE: Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

We can now confirm that two beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, are now...
Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

"What we are asking for are essentially school zones along our coast, areas where vessels...

WDC presents petition to UK Fisheries Minister to stop dolphin deaths in nets

On 6 September, 2017 we handed-over our petition calling for strong laws to stop dolphins, porpoises and whales dying in fishing gear in UK seas. Our Parliamentary event to present the petition and to get a commitment from the UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice MP, was really well received. Entanglement in fishing gear, or ‘bycatch’ is the biggest global threat to dolphins, porpoises and whales and we were so proud to state that more than 75,000 of you were with us in wanting to reduce bycatch in UK waters. 

We were delighted that MPs and peers, collectively from the Conservative, Labour and Green Parties came to support us, and colleagues from within government, nature conservation agencies, fellow NGOs, fishing industry representatives, funders and WDC supporters were with us to back our cause.

George Eustice is well known to WDC as he used to represent the UK at meetings of the International Whaling Commission, the body that regulates whaling, and we have built a good working relationship with him, as well as with Richard Benyon MP, a previous Environment Minister, who kindly hosted our event. As the moon rose over the River Thames, in these beautiful and historic surroundings, this positive relationship was reflected in the speeches of both Ministers, as well as our own CEO’s.

Mr Eustice made a number of important statements, some of the highlights for me and others in the room: “I want us to be a global leader, inspiring others to protect cetaceans” (the collective term for whales, dolphins and porpoises), “I want to see significant reductions in the number of dolphins and porpoises caught and killed in our fisheries” and “Any action to reduce bycatch will only be successful with strong support from the fishing industry. They are the cornerstone around which we must build our efforts”.

In my speech, I reminded Mr Eustice and all our guests of the need to consider bycatch in future UK fisheries, conservation and animal welfare laws as we prepare to leave the European Union. With the Withdrawal Bill being debated in the House of Commons currently  and the Fisheries Bill expected to be hot on its heels in early 2018, our efforts could not be more timely. Bycatch needs to be explicitly dealt with.

We now need to keep up the pressure to remind George Eustice of his ambition and to ensure that dolphins, porpoises and whales stay high on the agenda in these very political, fast-moving and complex times – so that we can make the legal changes that are necessary to reduce the numbers of individuals dying and eventually end bycatch in UK seas.

To sum up the evening, I couldn’t put it any better than Mr Eustice himself: “This will be a challenge. But one I think we can rise to together. The benefits of driving down bycatch are there for all to see. It will help safeguard our environment for future generations. It can make our seafood the envy of the world, tapping into the premiums associated with sustainably and ethically sourced products. And of course we can take a step closer to meeting our ultimate goal of eliminating cetacean bycatch and ending the welfare implications associated with it.”

Never doubt the power we have when we stand together. Thank you for signing our petition, with that small action you’ve been a part of driving real change and saving lives.

Make a donation to help fund the next stage of this important campaign