Threats to Dolphins & Whales

Dolphins and whales face an uncertain future as they face an unprecedented number of threats. Most of these threats are unfortunately a result of human activities. Globally, 26 cetacean species and 35 subspecies or populations are listed as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered (IUCN). This number continues to rise each year.

Major Threats Include:

  • Fisheries bycatch (including in fishing gear including drift nets)
  • Overfishing
  • Pollution (chemical and debris/litter)
  • Global climate change
  • Tourism activities (includes vessel-based whale & dolphin watching)
  • Boat strikes
  • Noise pollution (includes vessels, LFA & MFA Navy Sonar)
  • Habitat loss & degradation (e.g. through urban development)
  • Whaling & hunting

(Note: these are listed in no particular order)

Australian humpback dolphin with fishing hook embedded in jaw Image (c) Dolphin Research Australia

Australian Humpback Dolphin off a major Australian shipping port. Image (c) Dolphin Research Australia

A 2-month old calf called ‘CJ’ with large propeller cuts from a boat strike in the Gold Coast, Queensland. Image (c) Dolphin Research Australia

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