Whale and Dolphin Conservation: current and future priorities

Our chosen charity is the amazing Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).  We’re sure you will agree that the hard work they do to ensure the protection of our beautiful marine mammals (and their fishy friends) and the preservation of their ocean habitats is truly deserving of our support.

About WDC:

  • WDC has around 80 hard-working staff working in 6 locations world-wide.
  • Plus, a team of dedicated volunteers supporting their cause.
  • Patrons include John Craven OBE, Julia Bradbury, Michaela Strachan and Jerome Flynn.

Four primary goals:

  1. End captivity

It’s time for humans to realise that putting highly intelligent and sociable whales and dolphins in tiny tanks and forcing them to perform tricks for entertainment purposes is totally unacceptable and inflicts enormous suffering.  In this day and age there are a thousand better ways to have fun. 

WDC helps spread awareness of the cruel exploitation of whales and dolphins in marine parks around the world, to reduce the demand for these outdated places.  They put pressure on governments to ban the capture of marine creatures in the wild and they create sanctuaries to give more natural homes to captive whales and dolphins they rescue from marine parks, before releasing them into the wild.

  1. Stop whaling and dolphin hunts

Over 1,500 whales and many more dolphins are slaughtered in hunts each year in Norway, Iceland, Japan and around the world.  WDC works tirelessly to bring an end to this cruel and needless destruction by attending international meetings to put the protection and conservation of all whales and dolphins on the top of government agendas.  They are also calling on the European Union to ban the transport of whale meat through its ports and urging the EU to include whaling in trade talks with Japan.

Additionally, WDC is continuing to expose illegal sales of whale meat and fighting to have these practices shut down.  They also play an educational role by making tourists and whaling communities aware of the issues regarding both the cruelty of the whaling industry and the health risks associated with whale meat consumption.  They promote whale watching as a viable alternative, to enable communities to continue making a living from these beautiful creatures.

  1. Create healthy seas

Water makes up over 70% of the earth’s surface, so it seems ludicrous that only a tiny percentage of our oceans is protected. Especially given the intensity of the threats facing them, including commercial fishing, plastics, pollution and ghost gear (discarded fishing nets which our marine life gets tangled up in on an alarming scale).  Most global governments are aiming to increase protection to 10% in the next few years, but WDC has calculated that isn’t enough and at least 30% of our oceans must be properly protected if we are to stand any chance of saving the whale and other ocean creatures. 

Whales play a crucial role in the overall wellbeing of the planet by storing enormous quantities of carbon in their bodies, meaning their survival affects the future of the planet and the survival of mankind.  Dramatic but true. 

So, WDC is doing everything in its power to reach the crucial 30% target, including: liaising with governments to designate more protected ocean areas, undertaking scientific research to help design these protected areas and fighting plastic and pollution by increasing the awareness of the general public, companies and governments.

  1. Prevent deaths in nets

It’s a heart-breaking fact that huge numbers (we’re talking hundreds of thousands) of whales, dolphins, turtles and other sea creatures die slow, painful and needless deaths in nets, either as bycatch connected with over-fishing, or discarded ghost gear lying dormant but deadly on the ocean floor.  This is currently the biggest threat to our marine life, with several species seriously under threat as a result.

WDC has been working with governments to impose tougher laws in order to bring change to the fishing industry and prevent these deaths.  They also work with scientists and fishermen to find innovative technology and fishing methods which are safer for whales and dolphins and they are campaigning to increase awareness of the plight of these creatures.

Recent successes by WDC:

  • Whale and dolphin captivity banned in India.
  • Virgin Holidays ended support for SeaWorld and other marine parks.
  • Beluga whale imports to the USA ceased.
  • Teamed up with Sea Life Trust to create the world’s first ocean sanctuary for former captive whales and dolphins.
  • Successfully lobbied the Scottish government to double the number of marine protected areas.
  • Successfully lobbied the US government to increase protective measures for right whales, including expanding protected habitat by 40,000 square miles.
  • Achieved formal recognition of a rare feeding and breeding area for blue whales near Costa Rica as a biologically significant area.
  • Successfully campaigned for the UK governments to protect porpoises in the seas around the UK, resulting in 6 protected areas currently being designated around the UK.
  • Helped ban or change damaging fishing practices that can kill whales, dolphins and other sea creatures.
  • Persuaded the New Zealand government to take action to increase protection for endangered Hector’s dolphins and Maui dolphins.
  • Successfully campaigned for a ban on large scale drift nets in the EU.
  • Helped cut the number of vertical buoy lines along the east coast of the US, reducing the risk of entanglement.
  • Teamed with another charity to significantly cut deaths of harbour porpoises in gill nets in the US by introducing the use of “pingers” that alert porpoises to the nets.
  • Due to WDC’s efforts, the UK is a whale and dolphin champion. The Fisheries Minister has committed to the UK being a world leader in tackling the problem of fishing gear.  Watch this space…

WDC’s future goals:

Significant improvements have been implemented which wouldn’t have been possible without the impressive might and tireless campaigning of WDC.  But there is still so much more to be achieved before any of these issues is resolved.  WDC is prepared for the hard work ahead and their goals for the future include:

  • Bringing about an end to the whaling industry and dolphin hunting by increasing awareness, campaigning for change and lobbying international bodies and governments to designate protected areas where whales and dolphins most urgently need them.
  • Bringing an end to whale and dolphin captivity for “entertainment” purposes.
  • Working with governments and local communities to locate and maintain protected ocean areas.
  • Carrying out scientific work to help design protected ocean areas.
  • Working with the general public and companies around the world to increase awareness of the harm done to ocean habitats by plastics and pollution and lobbying governments to implement appropriate legislation.
  • Liaising with governments to secure tougher laws against damage done by the fishing industry.
  • Working with scientists and fishermen to find less harmful fishing tools and practices.
  • Ceaselessly campaigning to increase awareness of the plight of whales, dolphins and other sea creatures as a result of bycatch and fishing gear.

Hopefully, this piece has inspired you to do your bit to help the world’s oceans.  All you need to do is browse our wide range of gorgeous Apple Watch Straps and get buying.  Not only will you be getting a premium product, you’ll also be getting a warm fuzzy feeling inside from knowing that WDC will receive 25% of the net profit, all of which will be used to help out these guys ….