Advisory Committee Decides on Conservation Activities

Bonn, 22 November 2021 – The 26th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee took place online from 8 to 11 November.  This years’ topics, as per Resolution 8.1 (Rev.MOP9), were underwater noise, unexploded ordnance, ocean energy, and marine spatial planning. The species in focus at this meeting were the Harbour Porpoise, the Bottlenose Dolphin, Beaked Whales, and Lagenorhynchus species (Atlantic White-sided Dolphins and White-beaked Dolphins). The meeting agreed on 29 Action Points and 19 Recommendations in its Scientific Session.

Workshops and meetings that were agreed to be organised, are: a workshop to review conservation units and their delineation for bottlenose dolphins and some other small cetacean species within the ASCOBANS region; a brainstorming meeting on a strandings and necropsy database; a meeting on presenting results of marine mammal indicator assessments used for reporting by EU Member States under the MSFD; and a workshop with national navies to consider mitigation protocols for use of military sonar and management of other activities that can contribute to potentially harmful underwater noise, and solutions for acoustic monitoring and bycatch mitigation (deterrent devices) in synergy with national security activities.  These activities may be subject to funding.

Intersessional Working Groups were established to elaborate on how to best develop guidelines for cetacean-friendly marine spatial plans; to work on the development of proposals for listing the Baltic and Iberian harbour porpoise on CMS, for submission to EU for further consultation; and on Lagenorhynchus species to review issues that pose a conservation threat to the species and their populations, for example.

The Advisory Committee also considered project proposals submitted to the Secretariat and agreed to provide funding to three of them: using fishers' knowledge to understand the use of alternative gears to static gillnets in the ASCOBANS region; prediction of the cochlear frequency maps of harbour porpoise; and status of the Iberian harbour porpoise. Funding was also granted to an expert workshop to recommend small cetacean conservation objectives in relation to anthropogenic removals; a second workshop on management of MPAs for small cetaceans; and coordination of the ASCOBANS species action plans for harbour porpoises and the common dolphin.

At the end of the meeting, a heartfelt thanks were given to the Chair, Sami Hassani (France), and Vice-Chair, Penina Blankett (Finland), who stepped down from their roles after leading the Advisory Committee for over a decade. Jens Warrie (Belgium) and Katarzyna Kaminska (Poland) were welcomed as the new Chair and Vice-Chair.

The 27th Meeting of the Advisory Committee is planned to take place in the latter half of 2022.  The Secretariat welcomes offers to host this 3-day meeting, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Agreement being opened for signature.

Over 60 participants representing Parties, IGOs, NGOs, and other observers attended the AC26. © ASCOBANS Secretariat

Over 60 participants representing Parties, IGOs, NGOs, and other observers attended the AC26.                                                             © ASCOBANS Secretariat

Last updated on 23 November 2021

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