World Whale Day seeks to raise awareness on the continuing need to protect whales. The oceans’ most iconic mammals are threatened by human-related activities. (photo – Robert Frerck)
- entanglement in fishing gear (by-catch),
- climate change,
- ship strikes,
- toxic contamination,
- oil and gas development, and
- habitat degradation.
Whale Hunting Continues!
Despite a ban on whale hunting entered into force in 1986, whales still face slaughter. A notorious danger is represented by Japan, the Asian country that continues to kill these peaceful cetaceans “for scientific purposes”, thus by bypassing the ban. Japan, however, isn’t the only to violate the moratorium established by the International Whaling Commission (IWC):
Norway and Iceland continue to hunt. The latter is the only country in the world to hunt the endangered fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus). Annually hundreds of pilot whales are slaughtered in the Faroe Islands, see: 2017: A Bad Year for Whales (photo – Sea Shepherd)
Why Whales are Important!
Whales play an important role in balancing the food chain and ensuring that certain animal species do not overpopulate the ocean. For example, a blue whale can eat as much as 40 million krill per day, so whales keep the population of krill in check.
Whales act like a pump that recirculates the fish and zooplankton that they’ve ingested toward the surface in the form of nitrogen-rich fecal matter. Whale poop is important! These nutrients are essential to the primary production of the marine ecosystem, see: How Whale Poop Can Save the World!
Whales are sentinels of the health of marine environments. They are found in all the world’s oceans, from coastal areas to the deep sea. As whales are at the top of the food pyramid, any decline or increase in their population is an indication of a change in the wider habitat. (photo – Reinhard Dirscherl)
When whales die, their carcasses sink and serve as food to a host of scavenger organisms who decompose them into nutrients available for other organisms.
A Glimmer of Hope!
Nevertheless, there’s a glimmer of hope. In fact, some species are thriving, such as the Western Pacific grey whale and the humpback whales living off the coasts of Western Australia. To celebrate the extraordinary yet mysterious intelligence of these creatures as well as underline the need of protecting them, we celebrate World Whale Day.
The annual commemoration was founded in Maui, Hawaii, in 1980, to honor humpback whales, which swim off its coast and is the main showcase of the Maui Whale Festival. You don’t have to visit Maui to mark this special day. Whales need support from wildlife lovers everywhere to meet conservation threats. (photo – emaze)
A Perfect Way to Celebrate World Whale Day!
Take part in a fundraising event wherever you live. You’ll have a whale of a time and aid a great cause!
By Laurie Wilson, Blue Ocean.net
Plus See These Related Blue Ocean Articles on Whales:
How To Get More Ocean-Hearted Intel Delivered To Your Inbox!
We believe ocean lovers can change the world. If you care about the health of the ocean and want to do something about it, then connect with the Blue Ocean tribe: Our growing community of ocean change-makers is turning ocean lovers into ocean leaders. It starts with you. Join us!