Year on year, hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales and porpoises die in fishing nets and gear. This is known as ‘bycatch’ and it’s the biggest global threat to these vulnerable creatures. You can help stop these tragic deaths by supporting Whale and Dolphin Conservation through Savoo.
When fishermen accidentally catch species other than those they are looking for, it’s called ‘bycatch’. Getting trapped in fishing gear is a terrible way to die because like us, whales and dolphins can’t breathe underwater. They panic and can endure terrible wounds and broken bones as they try to escape, and when they can’t struggle any more, they suffocate.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is the leading global charity dedicated to the protection of whales and dolphins, and work hard to put a stop to bycatch. By working with the fishing industry, their aim is to modify fishing practices to reduce the risk of entanglement, as well as engaging fishing communities to find solutions that will protect dolphins, porpoises and whales. They also advise governments on legislation and measures that will save whale and dolphin lives.
WDC’s work to protect dolphins in the UK
As well as working internationally to protect whales and dolphins, WDC works to protect the many species of whales, dolphins and porpoises who make their homes in the waters around the UK. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation is situated at the mouth of the beautiful River Spey and is a haven for wildlife including bottlenose dolphins, ospreys, grey and common seals, the occasional otter and many coastal birds.
It is a hub for education, offering daily tours and walks, information about different species and land-based dolphin watching. Katie Dyke works at the centre coordinating volunteers to take part in regular shore watches across the coast. She says:
“The Spey Bay Scottish Dolphin Centre is a very special part of the UK, where marine wildlife is rich. My job takes me all over the country working with coastal communities, training individuals how to survey for whales and dolphins, to help protect these amazing creatures.
“I work with wonderful communities desperate to help the marine environment, and have the opportunity to see numerous whale and dolphin species wild and free in their natural environment. This year I have seen lunge feeding humpback whales, orcas hunting and bottlenose dolphin’s teaching their calves how to play – all from the coastline that I am lucky enough to call home.”
Sadly in the seas around Scotland, humpback whales are still being affected by entanglement in static creel lines – the ropes used to secure pots to the seabed to catch shellfish such as lobster and crab, and about half of the minke whales who wash up around the Scottish coastline bear signs of entanglement. In fact, for some UK populations such as the common dolphins who live off the south and south west coasts of England, bycatch may be a serious threat to their survival.
How can you help support WDC?
It’s pretty simple. You can support Whale and Dolphin Conservation by choosing to search and shop through Savoo. We donate half of our commission to them when you use a voucher or deal of ours, as well as 1p for every search made using our Microsoft-powered search engine. All you need to do is support Whale and Dolphin Conservation in our charity directory!
You can also help WDC to make sure that dolphins, porpoises and whales have the protection they need in UK waters by signing Whale and Dolphin Conservation, or by adopting one of the dolphins who live around Scotland’s Moray Firth and learning more about these amazing individuals.
Photo credit: Lucy Molleson, Charlie Phillips