Teaching whale rescue in Tonga

18 August 2014

We're funding workshops that teach people how to rescue whales caught in fishing gear on their local beaches

Training most recently took place in Neiafu, Tonga, in the South Pacific. Over two days of teaching and practical exercises, 10 participants were taught how to safely disentangle whales trapped in fishing gear, and provided with a kit of specialist tools to help them cut whales free safely.

Among the attendees were local whale watch companies and members of the government, including two staff from Vanuatu’s Fisheries Agency.

Every year more than one hundred thousand whales, dolphins, seals and turtles are caught in abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear.

It is highly dangerous to approach these tangled whales without any training. But with the necessary tools and knowledge, those who want to help can be equipped to release entangled whales safely. This is the aim of the workshops, which are organised by the International Whaling Commission (IWC)

So far, we’ve funded these workshops in the Dominic Republic, Ecuador and the Wider Caribbean.

Our support for the workshops was praised by the IWC at their recent marine debris workshop in Hawaii, during which we were invited to present our  Sea Change campaign to 30 international experts.

While we were there, we also took the opportunity to help animals in a very practical way, by joining the Hawaii Wildlife Fund in a mission to clear a huge number of nets from the beaches following Hurricane Iselle.

Read more about the  Sea Change campaign

With the necessary tools and knowledge, people who want to help can be equipped to release entangled whales safely