The Environment Society were privileged to host Ms Sharon Livermore, the Programme Officer for Marine Conservation at IFAW, for a talk about marine cetacean conservation before Long Leave.

Ms Livermore highlighted that in order to effectively protect cetaceans, we need to fully understand their behaviour. With reports of mass strandings of pilot whales on the rise and bubble net feeding by humpback whales, the modern world poses many threats that to these animals.

Despite some countries not abiding by the 1986 moratorium on whaling, the legislation has been successful in aiding many cetacean populations to recover. The IFAW are currently working with governments and industry to reduce noise pollution as a threat to all marine life and are pursuing propellers which produce less cavitation, as well as slower speeds for boats, to reduce this problem.

Entanglement of large cetaceans and bycatch of smaller ones are also a threat to cetaceans, with some 300,000 perishing per year as a result. Ms Livermore illustrated this with the fact that 1,100 dolphins alone died in the Bay of Biscay in 2019. The IFAW is appealing to the EU to engage on this, to either move or close the fishing ground.

We thank Ms Sharon Livermore, for such an interactive, fascinating talk, addressing the often-overlooked issue of conserving keystone species, on which a plethora of marine ecosystems depend.

Read more about the IWAF’s work here.