The Beaked Whales are again on the AC26 agenda. AC25 in 2019 recommended that applying the precautionary principle is of greater importance with beaked whales, as compared with other small cetaceans, given the likelihood of small population sizes and the evidence that military activities can have severe impacts on these taxa, and acknowledging the difficulties encountered in gaining reliable information . Photo: Northern Bottlenose Whale © S. Hooker / Sea Watch Foundation.
Bonn, 26 August 2021 - The 26th Meeting of the Advisory Committee (AC26) to the Agreement for the Conservation of Small Cetaceans in the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS) is due to take place virtually from 8 to 12 November 2021, as decided by the 9th Meeting of the Parties last year.
The scientific session of the meeting will see participants review and discuss four pressures to small cetaceans listed in the Annex to Resolution 8.1 (Rev.MOP9), namely underwater noise, ocean energy, unexploded ordnance, and marine spatial planning. The meeting will also hear about progress on the implementation of the ASCOBANS Species Action Plans.
Special species sessions are also planned for the Bottlenose Dolphin, Beaked Whales, Lagenorhynchus species, and the Harbour Porpoise Baltic Proper & Iberian Populations to highlight conservation needs.
Small cetaceans are especially susceptible to recent increases in anthropogenic noise pollution due to their high responsiveness to sound and wide hearing range. Impulsive and continuous noise present different impacts on small cetaceans, which include communicative masking, behavioural response, and physiological injury. Similarly, the development of renewable ocean energies can also lead to potential lethal interactions or injury, population displacement, and changes in fecundity, calf survival and juvenile and adult mortality. Furthermore, unexploded ordnance risks releasing chronic contaminants and can be physical hazardous upon detonation. Given the vulnerability of small cetaceans to anthropogenic threats, good marine spatial planning is crucial in helping mitigate negative impacts from maritime activities on marine environments.
Finally, an institutional session will also take place to enable the Advisory Committee to enhance conservation efforts by assigning funds to prioritised activities.
Additional information can be found on the meeting page, where also documents will be posted as they become available.
Last updated on 26 August 2021