Atlantic Spotted Dolphin © Steve Geelhoed

In this issue:

  Latest news

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.

Read more
During the summer schools school children are discovering Marine Mammals with the developed educational resources and plenty of practical activities. Over 400 teachers and almost 1,500 students from 14 different countries in more than 50 events (training sessions, summer schools & symposia) were directly involved. © Marine Mammals

ASCOBANS Outreach and Education Award 2020 to Marine Mammals Science Education

‘Marine Mammals Science Education’ project is the winner of the ASCOBANS Outreach and Education Award 2020, announced at the 9th Meeting of the Parties. 

Read more
Harbour Porpoise. © Preben Toft

Baltic Proper Harbour Porpoise in Focus

The Baltic Proper sub-population of the Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) was categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and the population is thought to number only a few hundred. 

Read more
  Meetings and workshops
Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) © Gregory Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0

ASCOBANS Common Dolphin Group Meets Online

The second meeting of the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Species Action Plan for the North-East Atlantic Common Dolphin - also known as the ‘Common Dolphin Group’ - took place on 3 December 2020.

Read more
© Peter Verhoog/Marine Mammals

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

The 9th Meeting of the Parties to ASCOBANS concluded on 11 September 2020. Eleven new resolutions were adopted.

Read more
Harbour porpoise © PGH Evans

16th Meeting of the Jastarnia Group

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) met on 8-9 June 2020. 

Read more
  Species Action Plans and Working Groups
Northern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus). © Line Kyhn

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 recent strandings that had occurred.

Read more
  Other news
Pygmy Killer Whale necropsy. Photo by NOAA's National Ocean Service /

Best Practice on Cetacean Post-mortem Protocol

Jointly developed by ASCOBANS and ACCOBAMS, the Best Practice on Cetacean Post-mortem Investigation and Tissue Sampling  protocol offers a framework for data collection.

Read more
© Enrico Strocchi (modified, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Prey Depletion - Another Threat to Small Cetaceans

Small cetacean distributions are influenced by the distribution and diversity of their main prey species. There is evidence that prey depletion is posing a threat to small cetaceans within the ASCOBANS Agreement Area.  

Read more
Photo © Tilen Genov, Morigenos

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.  

Read more

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.

Read more
© John Vonderlin  (modified, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Marine Debris – Ghost Nets and Plastics – a Deadly Hazard for Cetaceans

Worldwide, marine debris, which includes abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) and plastics, has a negative impact on a substantial number of marine animals. 

Read more
Patricia Stadié  © CMS/ASCOBANS

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.

Read more

ASCOBANS 25th Anniversary Book

The ASCOBANS anniversary book 'European Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: Marine Mammal Conservation in Practice' presents an intimate view of the workings of a regional conservation agreement to protect small cetaceans. It details its achievements over the last 25 years, whilst identifying weaknesses and recommending steps that governments, scientists, marine stakeholders and the public can take to improve conservation efforts.

Read more