4 March 2009: ECS Takes Stand on Sonar Mitigation

The 23rd Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2-4 March 2009. The Conference, with the theme "Climate Change and Marine Mammals", was divided in different thematic sections, in which latest research on cetaceans and pinnipeds was presented; a lot of the results with direct or indirect conservation and management implications. It also afforded an excellent opportunity to establish closer links with the scientific community and enlist support for CMS and ASCOBANS marine mammal work.

The Conference was preceded by a series of workshops. Ms Heidrun Frisch, the CMS Marine Mammals Officer and ASCOBANS Coordinator, attended three workshops on "Reconciling diverse perspectives for cetacean communication", "Moving towards a standardized population estimate approach for Monachus monachus" and "Beaked whales and active sonar: transiting from research to mitigation".

The "beaked whale" workshop especially was of high interest for both CMS and ASCOBANS. Both MEAs have passed Resolutions on the importance of mitigating noise impacts on marine species. Beaked whales have been found to be particularly sensitive to acoustic disturbance stemming from sonar. After providing a background to the current field research investigating mitigation techniques, as well as legal and official perspectives about the feasibility of promoting a standardised mitigation protocol, the participants agreed to form a drafting group to produce concise mitigation guidelines. These are expected to be available by mid-April and will be forwarded to the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee and other relevant bodies. The ECS membership adopted a strong statement on the need for effective mitigation on 4 March, which can be downloaded here.

Last updated on 25 March 2014

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