Protecting the environment with intelligence

Cetaceans

If you think the whales have been saved, guess again.

The world’s cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are subjected to ever more man-made threats, not just hunting but also climate change, bycatch, overfishing, pollution, shipping and marine litter.

Although commercial whaling of large whales was banned in 1986, dolphins, porpoises and toothed whales (small cetaceans) were not protected. EIA was actually founded in 1984 after two of its founding directors travelled to the Faroe Islands to expose the pilot whale hunt, and we have continued to campaign against the large-scale slaughter of small cetaceans, which is often overshadowed by Japan, Norway and Iceland’s continued commercial whaling of large whales.

In Japan, we have focused on reducing the market demand for these animals by persuading more than 2,500 supermarkets to stop selling whale and dolphin products. The world’s largest cetacean hunt, of the Dall’s porpoise, has roughly halved in the past 10 years from 18,000 to about 9,000, thanks to the reduced demand for porpoise food products.

Sperm whale fluke kaikoura, New Zealand.While we continue to pressure Japan, Iceland and Norway to stop whaling, we are also working to drag the International Whaling Commission into the 21st century to enable it to tackle the major problems facing cetaceans through degradation of the marine environment.

Bycatch in fishing gear alone kills hundreds of thousands of cetaceans each year, often impacting on the most threatened and endangered species.