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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

Representatives from the Whales Group had a productive meeting with the International Whaling Commission (IWC) secretariat in March. Members discussed updates on some of the IWC’s conservation efforts including bycatch, small cetacean conservation and broader whaling issues relating to Japan’s exit from the IWC and Iceland’s new whaling quotas.

Link’s Bycatch sub-group wrote to the George Eustice MP when in his position as Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, asking for his support for improvements to new EU fisheries legislation to better protect against bycatch of protected, endangered and threatened species. The Group also used Twitter to raise awareness of the issue. To tie in with a recent consultation on a future trade agreement with New Zealand, the Group wrote to Defra, the Department for International Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office requesting that action to tackle bycatch of endangered Maui and Hectors dolphins be included in any future agreements.

The Group is progressing activities to support wider appreciation and mitigation of the effects of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination on marine mammals. In March the Group made contact with the International POPs Elimination Network and will now work together to further this work globally and in the UK.

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

Last updated: 31 May 2019