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Visitors to WhaleFest learn about threats to marine life and how to help

WhaleFest, the world’s biggest celebration of whales and dolphins held on 15 and 16 March in Brighton, UK, with 8,000 visitors, brought together exhibitors from all over the world, as well as celebrities and leading experts.

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the co-located Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS) contributed as co-sponsors with an exhibit in the “Ocean Wanderers” zone.

The main theme of this year’s CMS/ASCOBANS display was marine debris, which includes plastic waste and discarded fishing gear and other items. Many marine species get injured or killed due to entanglement. Ingesting plastic waste blocks their digestive system and can lead to their death. Microplastics also contaminate the food chain.

ASCOBANS and CMS presented the new leaflet “Oceans Full of Plastic” to the public, with practical tips on how to contribute to the solution. These include reducing the use of plastics, reusing items where feasible and recycling. Also, cutting open any loops helps to prevent creatures such as dolphins, turtles, seabirds and sharks from becoming entangled. Everybody can participate in local clean-up events along coasts and waterways.

Visitors had the opportunity to go on a virtual whale watch and a virtual submarine trip, listen to inspiring talks, discuss marine life and learn what’s needed to preserve it.

For more information: vlenarz@cms.int

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