A Historic Moment: An Agreement with Russia to Return Captive Whales to the Ocean

April 8, 2019

I am thrilled and it is with great excitement that I am able to report that our collaborations with officials and scientists in Russia has led to the best possible outcome for the captured whales and for the world.  This is an historic moment.

We have signed a joint statement (see bottom of this blog post for an image of the agreement) with Oleg Kozhemyako, the Governor of the Primorsky Region, that all of the captive whales held in Nakhodka will be released back into their natural environment. This is a very emotional moment for me. Achieving so much on behalf of these whales and at the same time we embraced new relationships and friendships with Russians who will help us continue our work protecting marine mammals and the ocean globally.

Thank you, all!  To all the dedicated journalists, the passionate empathetic global public, to all the hundreds or thousands of NGO’s, this is honorable work!  Thank you!

We still have a long way to go, but this is a significant achievement for all our team especially for those on the ground, and everyone involved in this effort, including the global public!

Our combined efforts will continue to help people worldwide understand that whales and dolphins are intelligent, emotionally advanced animals that belong in the ocean, living with their families in vast ocean areas without harm from humans.  Keeping them captive in tanks for theme parks, entertainment and profit is inhumane, unethical, and cruel.

Throughout this process, my message has been clear.  Each of these animals is an individual just like us.  Every one is different and we need to make sure that every one of them will be taken care of right away.  There is a lot of work to be done, but I have no doubt that we are going to succeed.

To achieve this goal, our team of international scientists and Russian scientists are committed to devise a plan to release the whales, some of which were captured as long ago as July of last year.  It has also been agreed that a special rehabilitation facility for whales will be set up to help care for these whales in conditions more similar to their natural environment. The rehabilitation facility will also assist animals that are injured in the wild that need to be rehabilitated.

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(L-R) Charles Vinick, Executive Director of The Whale Sanctuary Project, Oleg Kozhemyako, the Governor of the Primorsky Region, and Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of Ocean Futures Society sign the agreement which states that all of the captive whales held in Nakhodka will be released back into their natural environment.

Working together with our team of experts, assembled by one of my longtime most trusted colleagues, who I am honored to call my friend, Charles Vinick, Executive Director of The Whale Sanctuary Project and our Russian colleagues and friends, helping these whales has been an unprecedented opportunity that I will cherish for my lifetime.  This humanitarian mission has been possible because of transparent collaboration and diplomacy.  I always say, “Don’t point a finger, because when you do, you have three fingers pointing back at yourself.’  Thank you everyone for working together, protecting the ocean, our life support system that we all depend upon for the quality of our lives. 

Thank you all for your interest and effort in this mission and for all of your continuous support!  It takes us all joining together! 

We thank you and we depend upon your donations to help save these whales and to support all of our work at Ocean Futures Society.  Your donation does make a difference!

“Protect the Ocean and You Protect Yourself”

Ocean of thanks for your continued support,


Jean-Michel Cousteau
President, Ocean Futures Society

The Whale Sanctuary Project is supporting this mission and has created a special fundraising campaign to meet the costs of this initial visit. Your tax-deductible donations to this fund are greatly appreciated. Please click here.

You can also make donations to Ocean Futures Society to support this mission and our ongoing efforts in spreading awareness about marine mammals in captivity. Please click here.

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