Working Groups

Bycatch Working Group

Established in January 2019 with the ACCOBAMS Secretariat, this joint working group replaced the ASCOBANS Bycatch Working Group that operated since 2010. The Joint Bycatch Working Group aims to address mandates of relevant resolutions; provide updates on bycatch mitigation measures and their effectiveness; review information on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; and provide technical support when needed to facilitate dialogue with relevant bodies. Co-chairs are Ayaka Amaha Ozturk and Peter Evans.

Common Dolphin Group

The Common Dolphin Group established in 2019 is the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Species Action Plan (SAP) for the North-East Atlantic Common Dolphin. The SAP can be
accessed at The group is co-chaired by Sinéad Murphy and Florence Caurant

Extension Area Working Group

Established at the 18th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee (AC18, 2011), the Extension Area Working Group was established in order to covering another important range area of many species for an improved assessment of their conservation status as well as frequently occuring threats such as ship strikes and bycatch.

Original Terms of Reference as in AC19/Doc.5-09 (WG) (2012):

Intersessional Working group on research and conservation actions undertaken in the extended Agreement Area

Informal Working Group on Large Cetaceans

This informal working group was established upon recommendation of the 6th Meeting of the Parties (2009) in order to provide advice to Parties.

Intersessional Working Group on Beaked Whales

The topic of beaked whales was raised at the 9th Meeting of the Parties (2020) because of the recent unusual stranding events that had occurred in Europe.  The Intersessional Working Group (IWG) on Beaked Whales was established to bring together experts to review data about beaked whale strandings, population abundances and distribution, to discuss potential reasons for the strandings, and key data gaps, and report back to AC26 (2021).  The group was also tasked by AC28 to draft a Resolution for MOP10 (2024).

Jastarnia Group

This group serves 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 is chaired by Ida Carlén.

Marine Strategy Framework Directive Working Group

This working group was established with a view to ensuring that cetacean conservation issues are adequately taken account of in the framework of ongoing work related to the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MFSD). Co-chairs are Sinéad Murphy, Giancarlo Lauriano, and José Antonio Vasquez.

North Sea Group

The North Sea Group is the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises in the North Sea. The North Sea Group is chaired by Peter Evans.

Pollution Working Group

This working group is formed ad-hoc at each relevant Advisory Committee meeting, producing a compilation of recently published articles related to chemical pollution as a resource for the Parties.  The reports are published as Annexes to the reports of the Advisory Committee Meetings, which can be accessed at

Resource Depletion Working Group

The 24th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee requested in 2018 the establishment of a Working Group on resource depletion to (i) review new information on resource depletion and its impacts on small cetacean populations and (ii) make recommendations to Parties and other relevant authorities for further action. The Working Group is led by Graham Pierce.