Photo: Gary Luhm
Photo: Gary Luhm

Global Programmes

Our Partners have prioritized four global programmes for the World Cetacean Alliance to coordinate. These are:

  • Stopping Cetacean Captivity
  • Promoting Responsible Whale and Dolphin Watching
  • Ghost Nets and Entanglement
  • Preventing Extinctions: Data Deficient and Threatened Species

1. Stopping Cetacean Captivity

The World Cetacean Alliance advocates the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) in their natural habitats in the wild and opposes the keeping of cetaceans in captivity for any purpose other than genuine rescue, rehabilitation and sanctuary. Cetaceans currently in captivity should be housed only under the best possible conditions that strive to meet their physical and behavioural needs.

As part of a process to identify a more appropriate solution for their long-term care, these cetaceans should be evaluated as soon as possible by experienced multi-disciplinary team(s) who, inter-alia, include experts from outside the captivity industry and, who as a team have the genuine intent of facilitating for rehabilitation and release. Cetaceans currently in captivity must not be used in performance, subjected to public interaction, or permitted to breed.

Find out our reasons why we believe cetaceans should not be kept in captivity and read about our campaigns and what we are doing.

Photo: Heather Murphy / CFAF
Photo: Heather Murphy / CFAF

2. Promoting Responsible Whale and Dolphin Watching

Our Responsible Whale Watching Partners are developing joint initiatives to share scientific data, develop new standards for whale watching, and encourage tourists to get active on fishing net bycatch and entanglement.

Find out more about this, and find out where to go responsible whale and dolphin watching.

Common Dolphin. Raggy Charters
Common Dolphin. Raggy Charters

3. Ghost Net and Entanglement

During 2015, Partners of the World Cetacean Alliance will join a larger coalition of organisations working to reduce the impact of ghost nets on marine wildlife. Find out more about the Net Effect campaign and our resources.

Isabelle Sikora and friends collecting ghost gear in Great Yarmouth
Isabelle Sikora and friends collecting ghost gear in Great Yarmouth

4. Preventing Extinctions: Data Deficient and Threatened Species

The WCA Policy, Advocacy and Campaigning Working Group focuses on critically endangered species, notably the Ganges River dolphins of Nepal and Maui’s dolphins in New Zealand.  The Group plans to develop and implement community-based projects working with local partners on the ground to find solutions to fisheries conflicts, encouraging ecotourism as an alternative revenue source for coastal communities.
During 2014 the WCA funded the work of Dr Barbara Maas. Dr Maas has campaigned tirelessly with the government of New Zealand to enact better protection for critically endangered Maui’s dolphins, of which less than 50 remain on New Zealand’s North Island. The WCA exposed the issue to tens of thousands of people during WhaleFest 2014, raising vital funds to support Barbara’s work in the process.


This year the WCA is focussing on the mysterious beaked whales, amongst the least known whales in the world.

Dylan Walker
Dylan Walker

Working Groups

The World Cetacean Alliance is run entirely by its Partners, and supported by the Secretariat. Policy, strategy, advocacy and campaigning are undertaken by five Working Groups and overseen by an Interim Global Council elected from across the regions and different stakeholder groups within the WCA.


The Working Groups are:

  • Awareness and Communications
  • Captivity Working Group
  • Working Group for Responsible Whale Watching
  • Science Working Group
  • Policy, Advocacy and Campaigning (PAC) General Working Group
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