Experts speak out on misrepresentation of Iberian orca attacks on vessels

August 25, 2023

On August, 24th 2023, 35 experts in the biology and behavior of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) from all around the world released an open letter concerning the Iberian orcas that have been involved in incidents where vessels have been damaged along certain coasts in southern Europe. Since then, many other experts have also signed onto the letter, bringing the number to 80.

The letter notes that there has been intense public interest in these interactions and that the experts are concerned that factual errors related to these interactions are being repeated in the media, and that this is alongside a narrative – “lacking a basis in science or reality – that the animals are aggressively attacking vessels or seeking revenge against mariners”.

The authors of the open letter believe that “this narrative inappropriately projects human motivations onto these whales” and are “concerned that perpetuating it will lead to punitive responses by mariners or managers”.

Among those signing the letter are OceanCare’s own marine mammal experts, Mark Simmonds, Laetitia Nunny and Lindy Weilgart.

Learn also about OceanCare’s

  1. media release in response to the most recent incident when sailors shot at orcas from their vessel
  2. statement about the interaction of the Iberian Orcas with vessels