WWF’s goal is to ensure that viable populations of all cetacean species occupy their historic range, and fulfill their role in maintaining the integrity of ocean ecosystems.
WWF acknowledges the widely varied cultural attitudes toward the conservation and management of whales, but continues to oppose commercial whaling - now and until whale stocks have fully recovered, and the governments of the world have brought whaling fully under international control with a precautionary and conservation-based enforceable management and compliance system adhered to by all whaling nations.
The marine environment has never before been under such heavy cumulative pressures. Bycatch, ocean noise, chemical pollution, habitat destruction, unsustainable fishing, oil and gas exploration and development, shipping, aquaculture, marine debris and climate change are all taking their toll on cetaceans
and their habitats, and in turn, are threatening the local communities which depend on coastal environments for their livelihoods and survival.
IWC has a role in tackling these growing pressures to cetaceans and their habitats. This will be a challenge, but also presents an opportunity for the IWC to become a world leading body in marine conservation.
Small and endangered
is the world’s most critically endangered marine cetacean species. It is only found in a small area of the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico. Despite government efforts vaquita population is still declining and now likely consists of fewer than 200 individuals. The goverment established a Vaquita Refuge to protect the animals from gillnet bycatch, but illegal fishing is still happening. Additionally, the refuge does not cover the whole vaquita habitat. WWF is calling on the Mexican government to enforce a complete ban on gillnet use within the entire vaquita habitat.
, a subspecies of Hector’s dolphins
, are only found on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The are critically endangered with only around 55 animals over the age of 1 year left. The Maui's population has declined since the 1970s largely because of animals becoming caught in fishing gillnets and trawl fisheries. WWF is calling on New Zealand to ban the use of all nets
inside Maui’s dolphin habitat and to guarantee compliance of all vessels.