In November 2012, senators and representatives on the Committee on Environment and Public Works endorsed a proposal for a whale sanctuary in Uruguay’s coastal waters. The sanctuary initiative began more than a decade ago when the head of the campaign, Organization for the Conservation of Cetaceans (OCC), began educating school children in coastal villages along “The Route of the Southern Atlantic Right Whale.”

Uruguay’s coast is a major migratory route for the whale and other cetaceans. Since the sanctuary was implemented, OCC’s network

has grown rapidly as an increase in coastal tourism, international freighters, plans for a deep sea port, and massive offshore drilling continue to threaten the heart of cetacean habitats.

The campaign was not only sent to Parliament, it was also submitted by the OCC as a formal letter to Uruguayan President José Mujica, along with a petition of nearly 7,000 signatures in support of the sanctuary. Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano and artist Carlos Paez Vilaro (Village Casapueblo), who are both internationally renowned, are also sponsoring the campaign.

Uruguay National Whale Sanctuary