ASCOBANS News

Season's Greetings from the ASCOBANS Secretariat

We wish you a peaceful holiday season and look forward to a healthy and happy new year!

16 December 2020

New Citizen Science App for Cetacean Sightings

A new citizen science app ‘Sea Watcher’ has been released to log sightings of marine megafauna in the European waters.

11 December 2020

ASCOBANS Common Dolphin Group Meets Online

The second meeting of the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Species Action Plan (SAP) for the North-East Atlantic Common Dolphin - also known as the ‘Common Dolphin Group’ - took place yesterday.  Over 20 members and invited experts attended the meeting, which was held online this time, owing to COVID-19 implicated travel restrictions.

04 December 2020

Intersessional Working Group on Beaked Whales Established

The topic of beaked whales was raised at the 9th Meeting of the Parties (MOP9, 7-11 September 2020) because of the strandings that had occurred in the UK, Ireland, the Faroes and elsewhere.  Many of the species were categorised as Data Deficient under IUCN, and the level of monitoring at sea was inadequate.   The MOP agreed to establish an intersessional working group (IWG) on Beaked Whales to bring together experts to collect data of recent strandings, population abundance and distribution, to discuss potential reasons for the strandings, and report back to the 26th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee.

12 November 2020

In Memoriam - Patricia Stadié

The ASCOBANS Secretariat is saddened to have received the news that its long-standing former Administrative Assistant, Patricia Stadié, passed away on 11 September 2020, at the age of 70.

30 September 2020

Better Protection for Europe’s Dolphins and Porpoises Agreed at ASCOBANS MOP9

The 9th Meeting of the Parties to ASCOBANS concluded last Friday, 11 September 2020. Originally scheduled to take place in Brussels, the meeting was held virtually as a result of travel restrictions caused by the corona crisis. New resolutions were adopted on the critically endangered Harbour Porpoise population of the Baltic proper, on marine debris and on food availability and resource depletion.  Delegates also approved the Best Practice on Cetacean Post-mortem Investigation and Tissue Sampling and approved amendments to existing resolutions on the conservation of the Common Dolphin, bycatch, underwater noise and responses to stranding incidents.

14 September 2020

ASCOBANS Outreach and Education Award 2020 to Marine Mammals Science Education

‘Marine Mammals Science Education’ project has just been announced the winner of the ASCOBANS Outreach and Education Award 2020 at the Ninth Meeting of the Parties, which began today and will continue online until 11 September. ‘Marine Mammals Science Education’ is an EU-funded project, which aims to engage young people in natural science to prevent future shortages of specialists in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Nine scientific and educational research institutes plus NGOs from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Sweden joined forces to carry out the project.  The core work of all of the partners’ work focuses on marine mammals and related topics.

07 September 2020

Bycatch – Still a Major Cause of Small Cetacean Mortality

Despite the efforts made by Parties to date, bycatch remains a major cause of mortality for small cetaceans in the ASCOBANS Agreement Area.  The available data indicate that levels of bycatch – the incidental capture of non-target species in fishing nets - may threaten the conservation status of some small cetacean populations, such as the Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise. Next week, the ASCOBANS MOP9 will consider proposed amendments to Resolution 8.5 on Monitoring and Mitigation of Small Cetacean Bycatch.

04 September 2020

Addressing Conservation Measures for the North-East Atlantic Short-beaked Common Dolphin Population

The North-East Atlantic population of the Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Common Dolphin for short, is facing increasing anthropogenic pressures, the most significant of which is bycatch. Other key threats are chemical and noise pollution. The ASCOBANS Species Action Plan (SAP) for the North-East Atlantic Common Dolphin was adopted in 2019.

31 August 2020

New Guidelines Help Minimize the Impact of Bycatch of Small Cetaceans

CMS in collaboration with WWF has published Guidelines for the Safe and Humane Handling and Release of Bycaught Small Cetaceans from Fishing Gear, which set out best practice on how to handle and release small cetaceans accidentally caught in fishing gear. Preventing fisheries bycatch is a top priority to ensure the conservation of species or populations. However, when these efforts fail and small cetaceans are found alive in or on fishing gear, this clear and comprehensive set of guidelines for the fishers involved will be of great benefit.

26 August 2020