Teaching whale rescue in Tonga

15 September 2014

We're helping save whales in the South Pacific by funding workshops that teach how to free them safely from fishing gear.

The ocean can become a death trap for sea animals

A staggering 640,000 tonnes of abandoned fishing gear is left in our oceans each year, injuring and killing hundreds of thousands of sea animals like birds and whales. As part of our global Sea Change campaign, which launches in Australia later this year, we’re working to reduce this suffering and save one million animals by 2018.

Equipping animal rescuers to save entangled whales

An estimated 308,000 whales and dolphins are killed each year when they become entangled in abandoned fishing gear. Large whales can often drag the gear along with them for several months before they die. But with the necessary tools and knowledge, it’s possible to release entangled whales safely and save them from a lingering and unnecessary death.

With funding from our kind supporters, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) held a practical two-day workshop in Neiafu, Tonga. Over two days, the attendees learnt how to safely free whales trapped in fishing gear and they left with a kit of specialist tools to assist them. The 10 participants came from local whale watch companies and government, including Vanuatu’s Fisheries Agency.

Making a difference to sea animals around the world

So far, our supporters have also funded these workshops in the Dominic Republic, Ecuador and the Wider Caribbean.

The IWC praised our support for the workshops at their recent marine debris workshop in Hawaii, where we presented our Sea Change campaign and Global Ghost Gear Initiative.

While we were there, we took the opportunity to help on a practical level and joined the Hawaii Wildlife Fund to clear a huge number of nets from the beaches following Hurricane Iselle.

Our Sea Change campaign will launch in Australia in late 2014.

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