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Cetaceans: Animal Welfare

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 13993, tabled on 10 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the prevalence of collisions between cetaceans and vessels, referred to as ship strikes, in UK waters or involving UK ships in each of the last three years.

Answered on

18 June 2021

We recently let a 10-year contract for the continuation of our widely respected UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme. This scheme investigates the causes of death of stranded cetaceans around the UK coast, improving our understanding of, and ability to tackle, key threats like ship strikes. Between 2016 and 2020, the CSIP team examined 663 cetaceans and found only 11 showed evidence of ship strikes. While ship strikes are a serious threat to cetaceans globally, there is low prevalence of incidents occurring within UK waters.

We work through the Conservation and Scientific Committees of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to understand and reduce the threat posed by ship strikes. The IWC is also collaborating with other relevant organisations at both regional and inter-governmental levels to share information and expertise. We recently contributed £20k to the IWC to support efforts to better understand and mitigate ship strikes.