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The Whales Working Group works to ensure better protection of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) through the reform of the International Whaling Commission into a conservation body, and by addressing other issues relating to cetacean conservation and welfare both in the UK and globally, such as marine contaminants, bycatch and disturbance.

Chair: Mark Simmonds, Humane Society International-UK
Vice Chair: Lucy Babey, ORCA
Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager: Cecily Spelling, Link

Update from the Group

In December 2018, Japan declared it plans to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to resume commercial whaling in July 2019. In response to this announcement, the Whales Group called on Theresa May to condemn the declaration when she met with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinz? Abe, in January. The Group also met with Defra Minister, George Eustice, and the UK commissioner to the IWC, to discuss further responses from the UK and engagement in the IWC going forward. The Group also supported and attended a peaceful protest march to the Japanese Embassy in London and is outlining plans to take this public and political support for action forward in 2019.

In November, Link’s Bycatch sub-group met with a representative from the Marine Stewardship Council to discuss their upcoming fisheries standard review. The Group hopes to encourage more effective incorporation of bycatch reduction measures in future iterations of the standard. The sub-group continues to work with Greener UK on engagement with Defra and submitted a response to thee EFRA Fisheries Bill inquiry this month.

The Group is progressing activities to support wider appreciation and mitigation of the effects of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination on marine mammals. In October, the Group published a joint press release and blog in response to a report estimating 50% of the global Orca population may be wiped out due to PCBs. The Group secured coverage in The Telegraph, the Metro, the BBC and more.

For further information, contact Cecily Spelling, Link’s Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager.

Last updated: 1 February 2019