Whale and Dolphin 

Sanctuary

Sanctuary of life

If sharks made films, who would be the villains of their movies? 

How would the Moby Dick story end, if the white whale had written it? 

What opinion would the sea and its inhabitants have of us? 

If the sea spoke, what would it say? 

Maybe it would say: "I don't want to be a factory".

And it would say: "I don't want to be a landfill".

And it would say: "I don't want to be a cemetery". 

From the sea came life, when life started living, and the sea still wants to be the untouchable Sanctuary of life.

Eduardo Galeano

(especially written for OCC and the Sanctuary's creation in Uruguayan waters) 

What is a sanctuary?

It is a space dedicated to the protection of whales and dolphins in a vulnerable state, threatened or at risk of extinction. Areas of importance for their reproductive activity, migratory route and need for conservation. It is internationally recognized ever since the Antarctic and Indian Ocean Sanctuaries were created in 1994 within the International Whaling Commission's framework.

How was the Sanctuary Law created?

In 2002, Maldonado Bay is declared a "Whale Sanctuary" through the initiative of young students, Maldonado's government, the Tourism Ministry and OCC. Three years later, in 2008, OCC collected seven thousand signatures from Uruguayan, Latin American and international communities, including 20 organizations, for Uruguay to come back to the International Whaling Commission. In 2008, Uruguay re-enters the IWC and the idea of the sanctuary strengthens. 

In 2013, a delegation of students from School n. 27, representing Maldonado and Rocha, restart the project and present the law along with OCC in the Environmental Commission in the House of Representatives. The law was passed 8th September 2013 with an absolute majority of votes in Parliament, with 62 out of 62 votes. 

The godfathers and godmothers of this campaign were  Eduardo Galeano, Carlos Páez Vilaró, Agó Páez, Mariana Ingold, Julio Víctor González and Gustavo Cordera. 

Captura de pantalla 2020-05-29 a la(s) 1

Why are sanctuaries important?

Only 3% of the planet's waters have any type of conservation measures, and among these only 1% have effective action plans. The Sanctuaries reinforce existing laws and strengthen effective strategies and actions for the prevention of: hunting, collisions with boats, gill nets, irresponsible tourism, chemical and noise pollution.

Reproductive areas of threatened species

The southern right whale (Eubalaena sp.), a species not yet recovered, reproduces in our waters. On the other hand, the Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia sp.) is seriously threatened by its incidental death in fishing nets, and the remaining 25 cetacean species registered in Uruguay are under the pressures of scarcely-planned coastal development.

Strengthening of national laws for cetacean protection

1998, Decree 238: measures to reduce incidental mortality and illegal hunting of cetaceans. It "prohibits the persecution, hunting, fishing and any type of appropriation of dolphins or whales in territorial waters."

2002, Decree 261: prohibits and regulates whale and dolphin watching tourism, establishing maximum distances and procedures, through annual training courses for captains with the Naval Prefecture and authorities.

¿Cómo puede participar la sociedad?

Usted puede alertar a Prefectura sobre embarcaciones no autorizadas cerca de ballenas, lanchas, Kitesurf, etc., y a través de la Red de Avistaje para Ballena Franca y Delfines puede anunciar la presencia y localización de cetáceos con fotos y videos.