In 2019, no more whales may be caught in the Okhotsk Sea. The responsible expert group opposed the renewal of the quotas. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Organization (WDC) has been fighting against the gruesome catching actions for years and considers this a success.
Russia is the only country that catches orcas and belugas for the dolphinaria industry. Now the catches could be history: in 2019, no whales should be allowed to be caught in the Okhotsk Sea. The responsible expert group opposed the renewal of the quotas. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Organization (WDC) has been fighting against the gruesome catching actions for years and considers this a success.
“We are relieved that the cruel hunt for orcas and belugas is a thing of the past,” said David Pfender, marine biologist at WDC. “These intelligent and social whales have been snatched from their natural habitat to perform shows in dolphinariums under dreadful conditions. Above all, exports to China have steadily increased in recent years, because the dolphinaria industry is booming there. ”
Eleven orcas and up to 90 belugas were discovered in November 2018 in tiny basins in Russia. The pools were rented by four companies that had already exported 15 orcas to China between 2013 and 2016. The fate of the recently caught whales is currently unclear. They were most likely intended for sale to Chinese dolphinaria, although the official quotas are only for cultural and educational purposes. Selling whales to other countries has been illegal since the beginning of the year thanks to an export ban.
The expert panel was against the Russian authorities (Rosprirodnadzor) against a quota for 2019, since the catch figures for educational purposes appeared extremely high. The only legal loophole would be catches for Russian institutions for scientific purposes. Which criteria a facility would have to meet is currently unclear. However, there is hope that no quota will be granted for this. WDC has supported the project for many years.