While strides have been made to protect whale habitats and prevent them from going extinct, whales are still under significant threat. The goal of the convention was to conserve whale stocks and organize the whaling industry to prevent whale extinction. These pollutants can be carried through air and water currents all over the world. Seemingly pristine environments untouched by industry can contain surprisingly high levels of pollutants. After underwater blasting was used in the construction of oil installations, whales off the coast of Newfoundland and Alaska were found to have hearing damage. Whales are allowed to be hunted for scientific purposes with a permit, but it’s believed certain countries may exploit this loophole.

what can I do about it?

Ship strikes are becoming more common and one of the leading causes of death for the whale and dolphin community. Ship strikes happen when ships collide with cetaceans, and as traffic, over our seas increases, we can expect to see a rise in fatalities due to ship strikes. As the ocean’s waters warm, less oxygen available. This will increasingly put stress on creatures, habitats, their food chain, etc. Higher temperatures cause more stress which increases their metabolism, which means they need more oxygen. It’s really a vicious cycle. Read more about what happens when oxygen starts running low in the ocean. Specifically for whales, climate change may impact their migration patterns. The depletion of the ozone layer and rise in UV radiation will affect the krill population which is one of the primary food sources for many whales. Our oceans are polluted from toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and plastic. Whale and dolphin tissue from around the world has shown high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

  • Write, call, fax or set up a meeting with your politicians. Know the issue and the facts. Know why your representative should care and be prepared to make the issue personal. And, then know what you want them to do about it. Are you asking them to vote on a certain bill, sponsor a bill, speak to their colleagues or the media? What do you want to gain out of the conversation?
  • Support the IWC!

Currently, it’s difficult to track how many cetaceans lose their lives to ship strikes because it’s not common to report these incidences. In 2009 the IWC established a database to track when strikes happen.

  • Here’s three current petitions that you can sign. Don’t let Congress destroy the Endangered Species Act, Help Create a Critical Habitat for Orcas in the PNW, and help save the North Atlantic right whale by urging your member of Congress to cosponsor the SAVE Right Whales Act of 2018.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling in 1986. The IWC consists of 88 countries regulates the hunting of 13 species of great whales. However, Iceland, Norway, and Japan have all objected to the ban and have continued to hunt whales under the «scientific whaling» loophole. The Arctic, for instance, is so cold, has little sunlight and bacterial activity that chemical compounds take much longer to break down allowing them to pollute the area for much longer. You can read more about it here.


On top of the chemical compounds found in the water, there’s also the issue with plastic. More than 8 million tons of plastic enters into the ocean every year. Much of it winds up breaking down to microplastics which are under 5mm in size. Now, that we’ve talked at length about the problems facing whale populations and habitats, now it’s time to talk a little bit about what you can do about it! Loss of habitat is directly linked to an increase in human activity like landfills, harbors, fisheries, boat traffic, resort development etc. in marine environments. These areas are vital for dolphins and whales to feed, rest, and breed. Whale oil is rarely used today. In 1931, an international cooperation on whaling convened which resulted in the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) in 1946.

52 Easy Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Download this FREE resource for 50+ simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Making small changes to your daily routines can impact the planet positively in many ways.


  • Consider making a charitable donation to Oceana, WWF, or PacWhale. And, if you’re in the market for a new phone case our whale cases donate 5% of the proceeds to Oceana to help protect whales and their habitats.

Read More Here Here are some of the biggest threats facing whale populations according to WWF.

oil and gas development:

Whales have been washing up in recent years with so much plastic in their bellies which they mistake for food. 10 Ways You Can Help Protect Whales from www.pelacase.com

  • Buy sustainable seafood or avoid it altogether.

Recently, Japan has withdrawn from the IWC to resume commercial whaling. The development may disturb the resting, breeding, and feeding of many whales and dolphins. The seismic surveys for offshore oil and gas are very loud and can interfere with both dolphins and whales communication. For 35 more ideas check out this post by PacWhale. This affects marine life in many ways. The oil industry poses three distinct threats like hearing damage due to seismic testing, pollution, and habitat loss.


The levels of these chemicals have been shown to cause damage to the reproductive and immune systems of the animals.

  • Examine your use of oil and natural gas. Maybe you can’t switch to an electric car or solar panels right now, but since whale habitats are being disrupted by these industries, see if there’s a few ways you can cut back. Maybe put on a sweater instead of turning the heat up or carpool and take public transit!

Free Willy was my personal favorite, and I don’t think I’m alone. I’m convinced that whales were everyone’s favorite animal in the first grade thanks to one plucky teenager and an adorable baby orca.

  • Since so many deaths are caused by ships, try to avoid buying products made overseas and opt for local.

climate change:

  • Avoid the big four! Check out our whole Plastic-Free July Challenge to get started on reducing your plastic consumption.

habit degradation:

  • Have you thought about your cleaning products? Everything that you was down the drain eventually makes it’s way out to the ocean so be sure to opt for biodegradable cleaning products!
  • Sponsor a whale! You can virtually adopt whales through organizations like WWF and PacWhale.

Do you remember tv shows and movies with heavy themes of conservation? I was a 90s kid and remember all sorts like Captain Planet, FernGully, and Free Willy. Commercial whaling is the hunting of whales for their meat and blubber. Whaling was most common during the industrial revolutions because their blubber can be turned into a certain type of oil that was popular during the time. Safe Whale logo

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Through meticulous scrutiny of internal environmental reports & policies, direct engagement with relevant sustainability associates, and exhaustive inspection of all available information online, Friend of the Sea selected the most actively involved companies in the shipping and cruise line industries and has awarded them with the highest level of Whale-Safe recognition for their displayed engagement towards the conservation of endangered whales. – Top Shipping Lines: Hapag-Lloyd – Top Cruise Lines: MSC Cruises – Dolphin and Whale Watching Organizations The WSO has identified numerous dolphin and whale watching organizations who have displayed an outstanding level of practice and commitment during excursions towards preventing whale ship strikes, awarding them the Friend of the Sea / WHALE-SAFE Award 2022.


Collisions between marine mammals and ships, known as “ship strikes”, have been identified as one of the most significant threats to major whale populations. Although preventative measures such as the application of observation systems and complying with existing slowdown regulations have seen significant empirical success, major shipping and cruise liners have still yet to implement them. To motivate uptake, Friend of the Sea carried out a comprehensive study analyzing the level of engagement from major cruise and shipping lines, identifying which entity exhibits the greatest effort to ameliorate ship strikes. Save The Whale Relevant data was collected from available information located on companies’ websites and sustainability reports in addition to scholarly articles, and through direct correspondence with relevant stakeholders. Companies have been ranked according to their level of engagement, compliance with slowdown areas, initiatives to reduce noise pollution, onboard full-time observation programs, and appropriate reporting where ship strikes have occurred. Scores are additionally amended where evidence of whale strikes has been reported. Whale Ship Strike Twenty of the largest shipping and cruise line operators globally have been included in the assessment. The list remains an open-source point of reference for other companies, regardless of size, who wish to participate in the ranking. Unfortunately, regardless of considerable empirical evidence concluding the significant inverse relationship between cruising speed and ship strikes, few of the assessed companies have enforced speed controls in the identified high-risk areas (areas where congested shipping routes converge with endangered whale species). Half of the listed companies express a certain level of engagement, while the remaining do not seem to showcase any level of concern of any kind revolving around the issue. Companies interested to participate in the ranking or are interested in providing updates on their policies should proceed to get in contact at [email protected]

The Problem

Until recently, it was generally understood that the greatest threats to marine mammal populations were whaling or being caught unintentionally as bycatch. However, recent studies have identified that collisions between Marine Mammals and ships, known as “ship strikes”, are now considered to be one of the primary threats. The pervasive phenomenon has been called the ‘silent massacre’ given that strikes are often unnoticed and subsequently undocumented, leading to the issue being largely neglected. With studies predominantly relying on beached whales to estimate the number of strikes, the severity of the issue has been surmised to be largely underestimated given only around 10% of deceased whales wash ashore.

Watch Our Video on Save the Whales!

Ship Strikws


The shipping industry is growing exponentially, doubling in size every 10 years, undoubtedly extending the lethal impact on whales. Experts estimate that cargo, cruise, and fishing vessels collide and kill at least 20,000 whales every year. Fatal collisions in both the Mediterranean Sea and Sri Lanka have almost doubled in the past 40 years, inflicting a staggering blow by halving the size of whale populations. 7 of 13 large whale species are already classified as endangered species of immediate concern, where studies have suggested that continual ship collisions may prove to push some species to the brink of extinction. Studies have revealed that preserving whale populations may also represent a crucial opportunity in contributing toward abating the climate emergency. Whales, in addition to being a keystone species and regulator of marine ecosystems globally, are a powerful sequestering agent, responsible for absorbing large amounts of atmospheric C02 and consequently contributing substantially to the ocean carbon sink. When a whale dies, an average of 33 tons of CO2 is taken from the atmosphere and stored in the ocean depths for thousands of years, the equivalent amount a tree would take 1600 years to absorb. The substantial amount of carbon ascribes each whale with a lifetime sequestering value worth $2m, with the entire population globally valued at $1t.


With inaction leading to the possible extinction of the great whale populations, immediate and collective ameliorative efforts are now critical. Friend of the Sea has since launched an awareness campaign to attract vital attention to the neglected issue by holding major shipping lines accountable for their ongoing environmental damage. Friend of the Sea, a program to promote products and services that respect and protect the marine environment launched the awareness campaign and 2022 Whale-Safe award to shipping entities that have successfully implemented measures to prevent ship strikes. Friend of the Sea has initiated a certification standard that urges ship owners and governments to abide by an exhaustive set of measures to prevent whale ship strikes including but not limited to, a combination of thermal cameras, online reporting systems, and minor shifts in shipping lanes. Cruise lines, ship operators, and fishing fleets that implement these measures will be identifiable by the Friend of the Sea WHALE-SAFE logo.


In 2015, Friend of the Sea launched a campaign focusing on the increasing numbers of whales being killed or affected by ship strikes. Pygmy blue and other whales feed and breed in the Indian Ocean, just south of Sri Lanka, an area subject to some of the busiest cargo ship traffic in the world. Aside from the potential lethal strikes, the loud noise from ships creates negative impacts on whales’ feeding and breeding behaviours. Friend of the Sea has urged the World Shipping Council and the Sri Lankan Government to submit a proposal to the International Maritime Organization to move the shipping lanes 15 miles south, reducing the risk of collisions by 94%. Friend of the Sea has also proposed an international project to assess such risks and introduce impact reduction measures.

How you can help save the whales

You can support the Save the Whales campaign by signing the Change.org petition, which will help Friend of the Sea convince shipping and cruise line operators to make a change benefit for marine mammal conservation. If we all work together, we can save the magnificent Whales from extinction.

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