How we work

How we work

Local impact

Our partners generally don’t have big marketing budgets, shareholders to deal with, or large offices in big cities. They work in local communities. They meet and talk to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. They spend weeks or months on the ocean. They see, hear, smell and connect with whales and dolphins in the wild. They see the issues first hand: Turtles eating plastic bags. Whales entangled in fishing gear. Receding ice sheets. Port developments. They speak with a passion and understanding that cannot be replicated by gap year students or office-based campaigners. And they meet the challenges head on. Advocating for change, providing evidence through research, generating income opportunities for local people, engaging with schools, developing sustainable tourism and fishing practices, and so much more.

WCA is entirely run by its partners. Our partners elect themselves on to working groups and councils, and decide on the strategic direction and priorities for the WCA both centrally and across the network. Our staff and volunteers working every day for the WCA have no voting rights and exist to support the work of our partners, thereby ensuring that the entire organisation is run collectively across 40 countries.


Our partners are drawn from across society. We don’t limit ourselves to one sector. That would strangle our creative juices; limit our potential to innovate; and narrow our perception of what is the right or wrong thing to do. Instead we encourage collaboration between people of different backgrounds, nationalities and skills. Where else can an artist, a lawyer, a conservationist, a scientist, and a tour operator discuss how best to protect an endangered species of dolphin that nobody ever sees, or film mermaids in a net to campaign against dolphin hunting?

WCA partners include non-profit organisations (NGOs and charities), commercial tour companies, scientific institutions, and, critically, individual members of the public (lawyers, artists, students, parents etc.). All have an equal say. All bring a unique perspective. And perhaps most importantly, all understand the unique political, economic and social challenges facing cetaceans and our oceans in the places where they live.

And that, right there, is the gold dust. The power of our people across the world brings that knowledge to the WCA as a collective. To understand what is required to make positive environmental changes across the many communities that make up society is the only way to achieve change on the scale required to stave off an impending mass extinction that has the potential to extend to us. Together, and only together, can we do it!

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