3rd Meeting of the ASCOBANS Common Dolphin Group

Bonn, 21 November 2022 - The 3rd Meeting of the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Species Action Plan (SAP) for the North-East Atlantic Common Dolphin (Common Dolphin Group) was held online from 15 to 16 November 2022. Attended by 30 participants from France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, the UK, European Commission, ACCOBAMS, and a number of NGOs and academic institutions, CDG3 discussed progress in SAP implementation and a number of other topics feeding into that progress.

Presentations were delivered on population dynamics, strandings, UK environmental legislation, SCANS-IV, ObSERVE, aerial survey monitoring in France, and updated abundance estimate. The Steering Group highlighted the need for countries to allocate adequate funding in a timely manner to future SCANS surveys.

The meeting received updates on OSPAR QSR 2023 biodiversity indicators assessments, the projects on using fishers' knowledge to understand the use of alternative geard to static gillnes in the ASCOBANS region, CetAMBICion, and Delmoges. Updates were also heard on relevant ICES working groups and workshops. The Steering Group encouraged countries to better target their bycatch monitoring efforts at the areas ad metiers of high bycatch risk for the common dolphin. It was also suggested that a working group be established to further explore potential bycatch mitigation measures for beach seine and static gear small-scale coastal fisheries operating in Portuguese waters.

Several presentations were given under agenda item Update on any hazardous substances, causes of mortality, health status, nutritional status, diet or life history analysis. These related to bioaccumulation of mercury and cadmium, evaluation of a candidate marine mammal status and trends contaminants indicator, contemporary pollutants in common dolphins in Irish waters, changes in trophic positions and body condidition, and impacts of anthropogenic activities and environmental change on the foraging ecology and nutritional status. The Steering Group recommended that north-east Atlantic-wide information on life history parameters be collected and analysed from strandings and bycaught animals, to assess for evidence of temporal changes in those parameters at the population level that may have resulted from anthropogenic activities.

ASCOBANS AC25 and CDG1 in 2019 requested the ASCOBANS Secretariat to organise a joint workshop with ACCOBAMS at the European Cetacean Society (ECS) conference in 2021. However, the conference was held in a virtual platform, as was the most recent one in April 2022. The next ECS conference will be held in April 2023 in Galicia, Spain. The meeting was invited to decide whether a joint workshop should be pursued. After consultation with ACCOBAMS, it was decided that a joint workshop would not be proposed to ECS this time, but that the idea would be revisited for the conference to be held in 2024.

The CDG3 Recommendations and the meeting report will be available in due course on the ASCOBANS website. Tentative date for the 4th Meeting of the Common Dolphin Group (CDG4) is 25 September 2023, to be held in conjuntion with the 28th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee.


Last updated on 31 March 2023

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