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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: Jennifer Lonsdale, Environmental Investigation Agency
Vice Chair: Mark Simmonds, Humane Society International-UK
Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager: Cecily Spelling, Link

Update from the Group

The Whales Working Group is progressing initiatives relating to whale, dolphin and porpoise conservation and welfare.

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 the 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.

In September, members of the Whales Group attended the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission meeting hosted in Brazil. The chair of the Whales Group, Jenny Lonsdale, joined the UK delegation alongside Defra representatives. Together, Jenny, Defra and other members of the Whales Group worked hard to ensure the Japanese proposals to reinstate commercial whaling were overturned. This success reiterated the strong support for whale conservation around the globe.

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

Last updated: 30 November 2018