Nine-year-old beluga whale Noc has been recorded by scientists making sounds octaves below normal.

Mimicking the human voice of his captors, one has to wonder what it is Noc was trying to say.

Perhaps it was: “Please release me from the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego so I can live freely in the wild,” or maybe a more rousing cry: “The whales are not saved yet!”

While applauding the Foundation’s research into marine mammals, Noc’s behaviour is also a sign that keeping whales in captivity and in close association with humans, whether for research or entertainment, is having an impact on their natural behaviour.

It is unfair, unrealistic and unnecessary to confine whales that typically swim immense distances every day to static pools.

We have less to lose and more to gain by championing the many benefits of watching and studying these magnificent mammals in their natural environments.

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Save The Whales campaign in the UK with the launch of Save The Whales: Reloaded at WhaleFest 2012 in Brighton.

Despite the 1982 ban on whaling, the world’s whales have not been saved and they are still not safe. They are losing ground to a whole plethora of issues, including over-fishing and drowning in nets, pollution, habitat destruction and climate change.

Now is the time to galvanise the spirit behind the Save The Whales campaign with a re-energised commitment to protecting whales and dolphins once and for all.

Dylan Walker, co-founder, Planet Whale, Brighton