ASCOBANS News

New Toolkit to Improve Marine Mammal Conservation in MPAs

A Marine Mammal Management Toolkit has been released by the European Union-funded Ocean Governance project. Marine mammals are increasingly subject to anthropogenic threats such as bycatch, ship strikes and noise pollution. There is a real need for effective conservation measures, which are often applied through the designation and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). However, their success is often limited due to lack of capacity, resources and on occasion of relevant expertise. This Toolkit will provide knowledge to support marine mammal conservation in MPAs.

14 July 2021

17th Meeting of the Jastarnia Group

The ASCOBANS Jastarnia Group has successfully concluded its 17th annual meeting, which took place virtually from 25 to 27 May 2021. As the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises (Jastarnia Plan) and the ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise Population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat (WBBK Plan), the Jastarnia Group reviewed progress on the implementation of the two Plans by discussing key activities of each Range State present and by presenting updates from across the Baltic and Belt Seas.

31 May 2021

Famous Killer Whales back in Hebridean Seas

Much loved whales John Coe and Aquarius from the West Coast Community of killer whales were spotted on Wednesday 5th May near Porthgwarra, southwestern England.  Nine days later on the 14th May, the pair were seen back in the Hebrides by Anthony Rigell from Waternish Point, Isle of Skye around 550 miles north of Porthgwarra, and on the 17th May they were spotted off Lochboisdale, South Uist from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s research vessel, Silurian.

21 May 2021

International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise 2021

The Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is the only native cetacean species to the Baltic Sea.  It is also one of the smallest marine mammals globally.  Today, less than 500 individuals remain in the Baltic Sea area, threatened by bycatch, pollution, underwater noise, habitat degradation and diminishing food sources. 

14 May 2021

Call for Research and Conservation Project Proposals

The ASCOBANS Secretariat expects to be able to support a few research and conservation projects in 2021-2022.  At the next Advisory Committee Meeting, to be held from 8 to 12 November 2021, Parties will make a decision on the use of any available funds. The deadline for proposal submission to the Secretariat is 30 April 2021.

17 March 2021

CetAMBICion Project Kicks Off

The kick-off meeting of the CetAMBICion project - Coordinated Cetacean Assessment, Monitoring and Management strategy in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast sub-region - took place today over Zoom.  Nearly 60 stakeholders joined the meeting over Zoom to hear introductions to the project and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) projects programme, briefings on the six work packages of the project, and plans for the first deliverables.

09 March 2021

Sharing Experiences on Bycatch in ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS Areas

The First Meeting of the Joint Bycatch Working Group of ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS took place from 10 to 12 February 2021.  One hundred and fifty participants from 34 countries took part in the meeting organized online. Day 1 and Day 2 of the meeting were open to observers, which brought in 130+ people outside the Working Group, following presentations and participating in the discussions. Day 3 was dedicated to the Working Group members, to elaborate on their Programme of Work for 2021 and 2022.  The work plan, recommendations, and the meeting report will be posted on the meeting page in due course.

15 February 2021

New Article Published on Harbour Porpoise Conservation in Europe

A new article 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How Conservation Is Failing European Porpoises' has been published in Frontiers in Marine Science (open access) as part of the research topic 'Small Cetacean Conservation: Current Challenges and Opportunities'. The article stresses the vulnerability of the harbor porpoise in European seas and especially in the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and in the waters of the Iberian Peninsula off Portugal and Spain, and call for urgent action, especially in relation to bycatch. 

04 February 2021

9th Meeting of the North Sea Group

The 9th Meeting of the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises in the North Sea (the North Sea Group) took place online from 20th to 21st January 2021. Parties reported on implementation of the Actions listed in the Conservation Plan, such as bycatch observation programmes, review of current pingers / development of alternative pingers and gear modifications, review of the stock structure of harbour porpoises, and collection of incidental porpoise catch data through stranding networks.

25 January 2021

Internship Opportunities in the Aquatic Species Team

Are you a university student or a recent graduate? Are you interested in aquatic migratory species? Are you interested in the work of a multilateral environmental agreement of the United Nations? If your answer is yes, maybe consider applying for an internship in our Aquatic Species Team! (ASCOBANS, CMS, Sharks MOU, IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU) Deadline for applications: 11 February 2021.

19 January 2021