Whale and Dolphin Conservation

- Baltic Sea and North Sea
  • Main problem:
    Threat of marine mammals due to insufficient protection even in marine protected areas
  • Subproblem:
    Bycatch, overfishing, habitat degradation, underwater noise, pollution & climate change
  • Consequence:
    Species extinction, Need for education & awareness
  • Solution:
    Awareness raising and public pressure on political decision-makers

WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, founded in 1987, is the leading international charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins.  Our vision is a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free.

For the last decade WDC Germany is fighting for the conservation and protection of the only resident whale species in German waters, the harbour porpoise. With just over 1,5 meters length it is one of the smallest whales on earth. Harbour porpoises are widely distributed, but still unknown to people in Germany. In the Central Baltic Sea (“Proper Baltic”) the local population is threatened by extinction as the population counts only around 450 individuals. Even though they are strictly protected in European waters they face many man-made threats – even in marine protected areas. The main threats are gillnets causing large numbers of animals getting entangled (bycatch), prey depletion due to overfishing, underwater noise, pollution, marine litter and climate change.

WDC is fighting for the survival of the last harbour porpoises through awareness raising campaigns for example with a touring exhibition (2015–2017), public events like lectures, beach clean-ups, dedicated trips to observe harbour porpoises, or a geocaching tour on the island of Sylt (North Sea). WDC staff is attending expert groups and actively participating in international agreements. Furthermore, we are lobbying on EU and national level to remind Governments to fulfill their legal obligations, e.g. by establishing well-managed networks of marine protected areas, implementing effective fisheries regulation and mitigating human impacts on the animals and the seas. 

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Photo Credits by: ©WDC ©Michael_Scheer ©Charlie_Phillips ©Rod_Penrose @Nicola_Hodgins ©Jan_Haelters

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