Joint ACCOBAMS-ASCOBANS Cetacean Necropsy Workshop in Padua

Bonn, 28 June 2019 – a joint ACCOBAMS-ASCOBANS workshop on the best practices for conducting necropsies on cetaceans took place in Padua, Italy from 24 to 25 June 2019.

With mandate from the 24th meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee and the 12th meeting of the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee, the workshop, entitled “Harmonization of the best practices for necropsy of cetaceans and for the development of diagnostic frameworks” was organized by Sandro Mazzariol of the University of Padua, Lonneke IJsseldijk of the University of Utrecht and Andrew Brownlow of Scotland's Rural College and the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme.

The planned outputs of the workshop were: harmonized multi-tiered best practice; a diagnostic framework for specific threats to be investigated during strandings; and a list of experts and laboratories able to support and advise European and worldwide stranding networks.  

aren Stockin (IWC) taking the floor at the Padua workshop. © Cristina Otero Sabio

The organizers report that the workshop was very fruitful with encouraging progress made in developing the basic document, but some fine-tuning is still left to be completed.  The workshop presented the first opportunity for many of the experts to meet and compare procedures.  More discussion will be necessary before a consensus is reached as the experts came from different regions, with different climates and dealt with different species facing different threats.  An impromptu discussion on the use of data and samples gathered from dead specimens resulted in agreement that multidisciplinary and cross-boundary approaches were needed ideally with harmonized methodologies.  A first draft of a position paper reflecting the group’s thinking is now being prepared with a view to circulating it over the summer.  

The outputs of the workshop will be presented at the 25th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee (17-19 September 2019, Stralsund, Germany) and at the 7th Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS (5-8 November 2019, Istanbul, Turkey).  Both the ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS Secretariats provided funding which enabled the event to take place.


Last updated on 12 July 2019

News item
Species group: 
Marine mammals