Farewell, ASCOBANS!

It is time to say goodbye to ASCOBANS – at least temporarily. It has been over nine years since I started as Coordinator for the ASCOBANS Secretariat and CMS Marine Mammals Officer. Now I have accepted a temporary assignment to the role of Coordinator of the CMS Indian Ocean South-East Asia (IOSEA) Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding, effective from January 2017. I will be serving in this capacity for at least one year. What happens afterwards? We will see…

My time with ASCOBANS has been rewarding and fulfilling in so many ways. It has been an honour to work with so many brilliant and dedicated people. I have learned so much throughout these years, and I am proud of the many things we managed to move forward together as Parties, working groups, scientists, civil society and Secretariat in our efforts to make the seas around northern and western Europe a little safer for small cetaceans – as the articles in this newsletter demonstrate well.

I am very pleased that in my new role, I will still be able to do what I am passionate about: work towards better protection of marine life. I will miss focusing to a large degree on cetaceans, which have been my favourites for as long as I can think back, and I will miss the many inspiring people I have been so lucky to work with over the past years. But I am also very much looking forward to the new challenges ahead, to getting to know a new region, new people, and work on a species group I have always been very fond of but have a great deal to learn about!

Until someone else takes over as my successor, I will of course still support Melanie and Bettina, who will hold the fort at ASCOBANS, to ensure the various meetings and workshops foreseen for 2017 can take place as planned. Since my physical move is only to an office on the other side of the floor, it will not be too difficult to help out.

I will also continue to work on many of the subjects I have been the lead on for CMS, which will still cover part of my salary. Many of the cross-cutting marine issues are equally relevant for turtles and cetaceans, and I am happy that in this way I will be able to continue making a contribution also to topics of relevance for ASCOBANS.

So, for now, farewell ASCOBANS! I will miss you, but we will be in touch!


Last updated on 23 December 2016