Thirty five years ago, Pacific Whale Foundation was founded with the primary goal of saving the humpback whales, which were dangerously close to extinction in 1980. Now, our mission is to protect our oceans through science and advocacy. In our 35 years as an organization, we’re proud to have had ocean conservation victories on behalf of the whales.
A few highlights from years past include stopping the operation of a high speed ferry through calving grounds, banning plastic bags in Maui County and banning smoking and tobacco use at Maui County beaches and parks, banning the display of captive cetaceans in Maui County, and helping to designate the false killer whale as an endangered species. Learn more here.
However, humpback whales are not “out of the woods” yet. Humpback whales are still on the endangered species list and still have many threats facing them. At the top of the food chain, whales have an important role in the overall health of the ocean. Though whale protections and public awareness of the inhumaneness of whaling have improved, unfortunately seven out of the 13 great whale species are classified as endangered or vulnerable, even after decades of protection. What are threats to whales and how can we help save them?
There are a lot of ways to make a difference for the whales, no matter where you live. Each time you take action to save the whales, document it and use the hashtag #PWFSaveTheWhales to show the world how YOU are standing up for the whales.
- Don’t delist! Keep Humpback Whales on the endangered species list.
- Marine debris, trash in the ocean, is now a major threat to whales. Leave the ocean cleaner than you found it.
- Stop whaling in Japan, Norway and Iceland (where over 1000 whales a year are killed for commercial hunting in Iceland, including fin whales).
- Support the International Whaling Commission’s ban on Japan’s “scientific” whaling and support non-lethal whale research instead.
- Oppose cetacean captivity around the world. PWF successfully petitioned to ban captive marine mammals in Maui County in 2002.
- Ship strikes are major causes of whale fatalities. Do your best to buy local to avoid excessive shipping.
- Naval sonar testing is believed to be harmful to cetaceans, oppose testing in your region and learn more from Pelagos Institute.
- Report any stranded marine mammals with NOAA’s smartphone app.
- Entanglement is a primary threat to cetaceans. Learn more and help out NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Disentanglement Network, of which PWF is proud to be a part.
- PWF has found that reduced speed of whale watching boats lessens the risk of whale-vessel collisions. Learn more from our Be Whale Aware program and choose responsible ecotourism whenever you travel.
- Wherever you live, do your part to reduce climate change and rising sea surface temperatures. Rising temperatures in the ocean change where whales’ feeding grounds occur.
- Become an armchair whale scientist. Support noninvasive whale research and participate in PWF’s citizen science fluke ID project. http://matchmywhale.org/
- Support marine education and do your part to share your knowledge about whale conservation.
- Removing dams is not only salmon friendly; it also helps increase fish food supply for orcas in the Pacific Northwest.
- Buy sustainable seafood. Your choices will guide responsible fishing and make the oceans healthier. Learn more from Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch.
- Whales need a safe home, support the founding and enforcement of Marine Mammal Protected Areas worldwide.
- Support bans on trade in endangered species products and be sure to not purchase products made with endangered species.
- Encourage the U.S. to uphold the ban on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission.
- Use less plastic in your everyday life: it accidentally ends up in whales’ bellies.
- Use monofilament recycling bins to dispose to used fishing line. Check out Pacific Whale Foundation’s fishing line recycling program here on Maui.
- Support our conservation efforts and learn more at http://www.pacificwhale.org/content/conservation-programs.
- Set a good example as an ocean steward by respecting the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s approach limits, which is the law.
- “Adopt” a whale with Pacific Whale Foundation.
- Education is how we influence the next generation of ocean advocates. Share what you’ve learned.
- Check out “Dolphin SMART”, a program by NOAA that identifies responsible dolphin watching tours.
- All drains lead to the ocean. Use eco-friendly cleaning products.
- Cut the car: Bikes, buses, skateboards, feet, use ‘em!
- Oil and gas development produce noise and pollution in the ocean that disturb whales, look into renewable energy options.
- Support our efforts in promoting responsible boating. Check out our Be Whale Aware program as a guide for responsible boating and navigation around large whales.
- We don’t know everything about whales yet. We need research that better identifies areas that are important in whales’ life history for better protection.
- Be part of the solution: Join a local environmental group and volunteer your time, wherever you live.
- Say “No” to plastic bags: Plastic bags are estimated to kill over 100,000 birds, turtles and marine mammals each year. Invest in reusable bags.
- Avoid products with contaminants such as PCBs, which are harmful to orcas and other marine mammals.
- Wean off our oil dependency- oil spills drastically affect marine mammal populations.
- Become a member of PWF and help our efforts in science and advocacy.
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