Why are arctic whales threatened?
- The distribution and populations of prey will change
- Whale habitat will be increasingly open to industrial development
- Their migratory patterns, which are influenced by the extent of sea ice, will be altered.
- Seismic surveys used in oil and gas exploration can damage whales' hearing.
- Hydrocarbons, including crude oil, can be released intentionally by oil tankers after offloading, or unintentionally through accidental discharges and oil spills. Fuel oil can also be released into the environment from leaking vessels and shipping accidents.
What WWF is doing for Arctic whales
- Working to reduce the major threats to whales. WWF's long term vision for whales is for all populations of whales to have recovered to viable numbers and to be thriving throughout the oceans.
A 2013 WWF report identifies and maps the areas of potential conflict and suggests how such conflicts can be reduced in a future Arctic with increasing open-water areas.
To reduce the effects of industrial development on arctic whales and the aboriginal people who depend on them for subsistence, we recommend that Arctic nations:
- carefully plan ship traffic lanes and ship speed restrictions
- close important areas - where whales calve, rear young, rest and feed - to some types of industrial activity
- strictly regulate seismic surveys and other sources of loud underwater noise
- closely monitor whale populations to track their responses to environmental disturbance
- support regulations to reduce pollution from ships
What you can do
Sustainable whale watchingIt's not just good fun; whale watching is good for conservation too.
WWF encourages carefully controlled whale watching because we believe it can promote conservation.
- In the Andenes and Tysfjord areas of northern Norway, where sperm whales and orcas are commonly seen, WWF has helped develop whale watching.
- In Iceland, WWF has provided funding for The Whale Museum, an interactive museum devoted to whales and the history of whaling in Husavik.
When and where to see whales
|Canada||June-August||Bowhead, narwhal, beluga, fin, minke, killer, gray, humpback, pilot, Dall's porpoise, Northern Right Pacific white-sided dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, white beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise. Occasionally blue|
|Greenland||July-September||Fin, killer, minke, humpback, beluga, narwhal, harbour porpoises|
|Iceland||May-September||Minke, humpback, fin, blue, orca, Atlantic white sided dolphin, Atlantic white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises Occasionally: sei, fin, sperm, pilot|
|Norway||May-January||Sperm, minke, fin, killer, pilot, occasionally humpback until Autumn. Orcas in Tysfjord in Fall and Winter.|
|Alaska (US)||June-August||Fin, humpback, killer, grey, minke|