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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: Mark Simmonds, Humane Society International-UK
Vice Chair: Lucy Babey, ORCA
Link: Matthew Dawson, 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 have recently met with Defra officials and the new IWC Commissioner. At the last meeting, the Group raised the financial difficulties currently facing the IWC and urged the Government to contribute to the office costs of the IWC, raising their paper on this issue, see right sidebar. The Group regularly meet to discuss priority issues relating to the IWC.

This year, the group have worked with the sister Link organisations across the UK, to respond to the Government's Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy.

The Group campaign for the protection of whales in the UK and abroad, and recently wrote to Defra Minister Lord Goldsmith, urging him to publicly object to proposed experiments on Minke whales in Norway.

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 upcoming initiatives and to set out the Group's priorities for the Comprehensive Spending Review.

In December 2020 the group submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on the impact of tidal power on marine mammals.

For further information, contact Matthew Dawson, Link's Policy Officer.

Last updated: 11 August 2021