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Marine Mammals

The Marine Mammals Working Group works to ensure better protection of marine mammals through the reform of the International Whaling Commission into a conservation body, and by addressing other issues relating marine mammal conservation and welfare both in the UK and globally, such as marine contaminants, bycatch and disturbance.

Chair: Lucy Babey, ORCA

Vice Chairs: Sue Fisher, AWI, Nicola Hodgins, WDC

Link: Cassie Rist, Senior Policy Officer

Update from the Group

The Marine Mammals Group is one of the longest standing Groups at Link.

Marine Mammals Group members have successfully campaigned for a moratorium on commercial whaling and supported the UK Government to establish and maintain a strong stance focused on cetacean welfare at the International Whaling Commission. The Group also works on the issue of bycatch of endangered, threatened and protected species.

The Group has a strong relationship with the UK delegation to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), including the Minister, and meet regularly with Defra officials and the IWC Commissioner. The Group have raised the financial difficulties currently facing the IWC and urged the Government to contribute to the office costs of the IWC, with their paper on this issue

The Group welcomed Parliament's EFRA Committee report into marine mammals, which echoed many of the group's recommendations. They are now working to ensure that the recommendations are taken forward by Ministers.

The Group campaign for the protection of marine mammals in the UK and abroad. They have called for Ministers to object to proposed experiments on Minke whales in Norway and a further letter called on the Government to oppose the slaughter of dolphins in the Faroe Islands. Group members have recently met with frontbench politicians to urge action on the Faroes, including a suspension of the Free Trade Agreement with Faroese until the slaughter of marine mammals is stopped.

The Bycatch Group work with Defra to ensure the incidental capture of protected species such as dolphins, porpoises, seabirds and sharks, is minimised and where possible eliminated in UK waters. They secured a commitment to tackle sensitive species bycatch in the Fisheries Bill. Most recently, they have met with Defra to outline the group's thoughts on stalled bycatch initiatives and to set out the need for more urgent action to tackle this problem.

For further information, contact Emma Clarke, Link's Policy Officer.

Last updated: 24 October 2023