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The White Sharks and Whales Expedition

Short stories – first time seeing whales and dolphins in the wild

First time seeing whales and dolphins in the wild Bri and humpback whales The White...

An incredible first time whale watch in the Azores

An incredible first time whale watch in the Azores © Gretchen Gretchen D's story Off...
Gray whales from drone.

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WDC Breach and Provincetown

A first time whale watch that led to many more

A first time whale watch that led to many more © Susan, a very foggy...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent bycatch
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Whale culture should play a part in their conservation says new international study

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No change in Norway whaling quota as number of whales to be killed remains high

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Photo taken by Sea to Shore Alliance under NOAA Permit #15488

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Norway’s whaling future uncertain after survey shows little domestic appetite for whale meat

The future of Norway’s whaling industry appears to be in serious doubt as it struggles...

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...

Financial worth of whales revealed
Two beautiful Hector's dolphins leap just off new Zealand's coast. © Mike Bossley

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Fin whale

Positive whaling news emerges from Iceland

News is emerging from Iceland that the company behind Iceland’s fin whale hunts, Hvalur hf,...

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

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Offshore Wind: Don’t Blow It

Block Island wind credit: Regina Asutis-Silvia

Recently, new areas were added to the growing list of potential sites for offshore wind development on both the East and West Coasts of the U.S.  The Biden-Harris Administration announced the news with excitement, as these two areas – off the coast of Oregon and in the Central Atlantic – are part of the Administration’s goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

WDC was a little more reserved in our excitement.  Offshore wind energy is moving forward rapidly and there are still many concerns to make sure these facilities are developed responsibly and without harm to marine life.  

Like any large-scale development in the ocean, wind energy does pose a risk to the environment.  We need a robust process that considers the potential impacts from all phases – starting with the assessments just initiated by the recent announcement of those two new areas off Oregon and the Central Atlantic.  We can advance the renewable energy we need in a way that protects the marine life we love (and also need!).

Pinball the humpback. Credit: WDC N America

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WDC has worked with many other conservation groups over a period of several years to provide expert input on the potential impacts of offshore wind and to urge the federal government to include conditions that protect vulnerable habitats and marine life.  We’re happy to see our input being considered and incorporated in some parts of the process, but there is still much more that needs to be done.

Planning for offshore wind should start with careful consideration of where to put sites. By identifying sensitive habitats, areas important to survival and recovery of protected species, and hotspots of biodiversity, these important areas can be protected  through every stage of offshore wind development.

These new potential offshore wind areas off Oregon and the Central Atlantic are in just the right stage to identify and avoid those important habitat areas.  A comprehensive environmental review of these areas now will save time in the future by making sure important concerns are addressed before any development occurs.  The process should be supported by strong science, transparent about environmental considerations, developed in collaboration with all stakeholders and all levels of government - including Tribal governments - and should ensure frontline communities are not disproportionately impacted by development.

Offshore wind has a lot of potential to help the U.S. meet clean energy goals and reduce the impacts of climate change, which are already impacting whales and marine ecosystemsBut it must be done right. Whales can help fight climate change, too - and we shouldn’t lose species or essential habitat while trying to save the planet.  Developing offshore wind with strong protective measures, robust monitoring and research to further understand and alleviate its impacts is essential to the future of offshore wind and our marine life.

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