Russia wants to ban commercial catch of whales and dolphins

Moscow, May 14, (dpa/GNA) - Russia wants to ban the commercial capture of whales and dolphins, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced in Moscow on Thursday.

The head of the Russian government did not initially say when the new law would apply. "We expect that this will help save the animals from reckless extermination," he said.

Russia had already tightened the rules for commercial fishing last year. Catching whales and dolphins for scientific purposes appears to be exempt from the new regulation.

Two years ago, more than 100 whales held captive in eastern Russia made international headlines.

According to animal rights activists, they were kept in far too small tanks in a bay on the Sea of Japan.

The activists had spoken of a "whale prison" and feared that the animals could be sold to Chinese aquariums. In the end, they were released back into the sea in an elaborate operation.