Threats to whales and dolphins
Unfortunately, whales and dolphins continue to be threatened by:
- entanglement in fishing gear (by-catch),
- climate change,
- ship strikes,
- toxic contamination,
- oil and gas development, and
- habitat degradation.
Increasing threat of climate change
Latest research reveals that climate change is having a huge effect. Effects range from changes in sea temperature and the freshening of the seawater because of the melting of ice and increased rainfalls, to sea level rise, loss of icy polar habitats and the decline of krill populations in key areas.
Decades for populations to recover
Historically, the large-scale whaling industries of many countries devastated one species of whale after another.
Although most populations of whales have been fully protected from hunting for some time, a number of these were reduced to such very low levels that it is taking them decades to recover.
The North Atlantic right whale has not shown any signs of recovery in 15 years.