The Last 300 – Vote on the Winner of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise Competition!
28 October 2013 – The creativity competition announced by WDC, NABU
and OceanCare in collaboration with ASCOBANS on the occasion of the International
Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise in May has been an overwhelming success.
Ninety-four entries were submitted, exploring through art and design the
importance of protecting the last harbour porpoises in the Baltic Sea.
The public can vote on the German-language page www.schweinswal.eu
until 25 November. After this, a jury will choose three winners from the
ten entries with the highest number of votes.
The winners will receive attractive prices, and the best entry will be presented to the German government. Please spread this information to your networks!
Consultancy Position - Coordination of the ASCOBANS North Sea Conservation Plan - deadline for applications 20 October
11 October 2013 - At the 6th Meeting of Parties in September 2009 the Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises in the North Sea (Annex 4 to the Report, accessible here) was adopted. In order to facilitate implementation, the 17th Meeting of the Advisory Committee formed a North Sea Working Group and thanks to voluntary contributions from Parties, a part-time coordinator was first contracted in 2011. Progress reports prepared by previous incumbents can be accessed as AC17/Doc.4-05 rev.1, AC18/Doc.4-06, AC19/Doc.4-05, AC20/Doc.2.2.1.b and AC20/Doc.2.2.1.c. A contract for the coordination will be offered to a relevant institution or experienced individual based in a North Sea Party to ASCOBANS. Applicants are requested to make an offer to the Secretariat by 20 October. Please refer to the Terms of Reference for details.
8 October 2013: Consultancy Position - Support to the ASCOBANS Secretariat - deadline for applications 18 October
Outreach and education is one of the core mandates of ASCOBANS. The Advisory Committee repeatedly endorsed a proposal to develop a website section for children. Content has been developed already. The Secretariat now requires support in coordinating the implementation of the project. Applicants are requested to make an offer to the Secretariat by 18 October. Please refer to the Terms of Reference for details.
ASCOBANS Advisory Committee Addresses Key Threats to Small Cetaceans
29 August 2013 – Today, three intense meeting days reviewing progress
made in the implementation of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small
Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS)
came to a successful conclusion. The 50 participants of the 20th Meeting
of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee, representing the ten State Parties
to the Agreement, as well as Intergovernmental Organizations - ACCOBAMS,
HELCOM, IWC and NAMMCO - and non-governmental observers CCB, ECS, HSI,
IFAW, University of St. Andrews, Sea Watch Foundation, Wild Migration,
WDC and WWF, agreed what steps to take in the coming months in order to
make progress against the Agreement’s Work Plan.
Of key concern remains the threat posed to small cetaceans by bycatch in fisheries. For years efforts have been made in many fora to address this problem, but scientists warn that progress is not sufficient to achieve favourable conservation status for these species. They therefore made a strong call for more focused action, and ASCOBANS will seek to provide information needed as a basis for decisions at European level. Another major threat is underwater noise, which ASCOBANS now tries to address in collaboration with ACCOBAMS and CMS. A new work area for the Agreement is underwater ordnance, for which key partners are OSPAR and HELCOM.
The meeting recognized SCANS-III as a priority project and decided to support preparations for it financially. SCANS stands for Small Cetaceans in the European Atlantic and North Sea, and this third survey aims to update estimates of small cetacean abundance in European Atlantic waters. These results and additional information will be used to assess the impact of direct mortality caused by human activities, and a focused comparison of methods to create a best practice guide for monitoring to inform European Directives will be carried out.
The Committee also endorsed unanimously the proposal by Poland to give the ASCOBANS Lifetime Award to Dr. habil. Karl-Hermann Kock of the Institute of Sea Fisheries of the Johann-Heinrich von Thünen Institute (Hamburg, Germany), who has devoted his entire career to issues related to marine conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources, and had been actively involved in the work of ASCOBANS since 1996 until his retirement this year.
Sami Hassani (France) and Penina Blankett (Finland) were re-elected as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee, with many expressions of appreciation for their services. The next meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee will take place in Gothenburg in September 2014, at the kind invitation of the Government of Sweden.
The List of Action Points and Decisions of the 20th ASCOBANS Advisory Committee Meeting can be accessed here. The full meeting report is available here.
CMS and Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction
Actor Hannes Jaenicke Supports Efforts to Save the Baltic Harbour Porpoise
New Address for the CMS Family in Bonn
17 July 2013 - The second phase of the extension of the UN Campus in Bonn is nearing completion. The existing building accommodating the Secretariats of CMS, AEWA, ASCOBANS and EUROBATS and the one that will house part of UNFCCC will have the same new address, namely Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1 instead of Hermann-Ehlers-Str. 10. The postcode remains 53113, and telephone and fax numbers are unaltered.
The Last 300 - What do Germany's Native Whales Mean to You?
17 May 2013 - On the occasion of the International Day of the Baltic
Harbour Porpoise, which is celebrated in countries around the Baltic Sea
every year on the third Sunday in May, ASCOBANS has partnered with NGOs
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), NABU and OceanCare to run a creativity
competition in Germany.
Creative minds will have opportunity to explore through their art and design work the importance they personally give to having these unique animals in the Baltic Sea. More information, in the German language, can be found here from Sunday, 19 May onwards.
For the German-language press release, click here.
19 May 2013: Celebrating the International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise
19 May 2013: Celebrating the International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise
This yearâ€TMs International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise (IDBHP) will be celebrated on the weekend of Sunday, 19 May 2013. It is the 11th time that this special day in honour of the critically endangered native whale species of the Baltic Sea is being observed around its shores.
In Denmark, a historical society interested in the past tradition of huting porpoises is working with the Forside Middelfart Museum and other partners to participate in the International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise for the first time. Middelfart has a hunting tradition going back to the middle ages, with about 30 hunters going out every winter in ten boats hunting porpoises in order to use their blubber for producing lamp oil. This hunt took place until 1892. Nowadays, porpoises are a protected species in Denmark, and the society is using the local tradition as a way of highlighting the need to protect the species, which now has many threats to contend with. There will be a competition for children, historic exhibition, whale watching on the Belt and other activities.
The SÃ¤rkÃ¤nniemi Dolphinarium in Finland will, as in previous years, provide a variety of information and activities centring on the harbour porpoise for children and adults alike.
The ASCOBANS Secretariat has partnered with NGOs Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), NABU and OceanCare for a competition targeting German-speaking areas. Details will be announced in a joint press release and will shortly become available online.
The Lithuanian Sea Museum is inviting primary class students to get to know the little whales of the Baltic Sea. During educational talks the children will learn about these rare Baltic Sea inhabitants and will also discuss with the museum's biologists the environmental issues threatening the speciesâ€TM survival. In addition, a creative workshop is being offered, during which participants will jointly prepare a sculpture dedicated to the Baltic harbour porpoise. This sculpture will be placed at the entrance of the Sea Museum.
Information about IDBHP events of previous years is contained in the
Handbook, which can be downloaded here.
All participating institutions are encouraged to report back to the Secretariat
about their events. We will put a short report on the activities on this
website and include the information and photos in the next update of the
Jastarnia Group Recommends Crucial Actions for Harbour Porpoises in the Baltic Sea Region
New Executive Secretary of Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
March 2013 - The ASCOBANS Secretariat warmly welcomes Dr. Bradnee Chambers
who has entered on duty as the new Executive Secretary of Convention on
Migratory Species (CMS). In this function, he also serves as Acting Executive
Secretary to ASCOBANS. He succeeds Elizabeth Maruma Mrema who took up
her new post at United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters
in January 2012. Prior to his appointment, Bradnee headed the Law and
Governance Branch of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions
at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi.
More information on his background can be found here
Call for Tender: CMS Family Websites - Deadline 7 April 2013
4 March 2013 - The CMS Secretariat has issued a call for tender for the design and implementation of harmonized websites of the Secretariats of CMS, AEWA, ASCOBANS and EUROBATS. Details can be found at http://www.cms.int/secretariat/vacancies.htm. The deadline for submission of proposals is 7 April 2013.
Advisory Committee Workspace Now Online
29 January 2013 - After months of preparation, we are pleased to launch the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee Workspace, an online platform designed for progressing the intersessional work of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee. It provides an innovative and powerful tool which facilitates participation, promotes communication and supports goal-driven work of the Advisory Committee. We are looking forward to constructive and lively discussions on the many important topics we are working on!
The Workspace is structured in line with the Advisory Committee's Work Plan and the terms of reference of the working groups. All topics have been assigned to a Regional Working Group, a Thematic Working Group, or if none of these were appropriate were listed under Other Topics. A menu shows the individual tasks related to each working group or other topic. Relevant documents have been linked to or uploaded for each task, and information on the mandate given to the Advisory Committee has been provided for each to aid the discussions.
Participants in recent Advisory Committee Meetings as well as members of the various intersessional working groups have been individually invited to the Workspace.
Countries Step up Protection for Small Whales, Porpoises and Dolphins in Europe
Marine Debris Working Group â€“ Call for Members
The Oceans Compact â€“ Healthy Oceans for Prosperity
Bonn, 15 August 2012 - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has launched “the Oceans Compact”, a new initiative to protect the oceans and the people whose livelihoods depend on it.
Mr Ban called on countries to work together to achieve a more sustainable management of this precious resource and address the threats it is currently facing. He was speaking at an event in the city of Yeosu in the Republic of Korea (ROK), to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the opening for signature of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the “constitution of the oceans”.
Among the policies outlined in the Compact are the conserving and restoration of marine habitats important for carbon sequestration and storage, the conservation and protection of marine and coastal biodiversity and halting the spread of invasive alien species. It also calls for strengthened implementation of existing instruments and measures and increased participation in global and regional agreements addressing the protection and preservation of the marine environment and its living resources. All of these are vital to the aims of the Convention on Migratory Species and its specialized instruments such as ASCOBANS, ACCOBAMS and ACAP and the Memoranda of Understanding on marine turtles, sharks and dugongs.
CMS, ASCOBANS and the rest of the CMS Family warmly welcome this important new initiative.
An Overview of Events on the Occasion of the 10th International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise
On and around Sunday, 20 May 2012, the 10th International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise was celebrated in five countries along the shores of the Baltic Sea. Eight different events were organized, engaging the public in a variety of ways. Photos and short reports can be accessed here.
Since 2012 is also the year in which ASCOBANS celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Agreement, a special exhibition was hosted in the Zoological Museum in Bonn, Germany. An interactive panorama of the exhibition hall can be accessed by clicking on the preview below.
Panorama picture of the ASCOBANS exhibition celebrating the 20th Anniversary of ASCOBANS and the International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise (Bonn, Germany, May 2012) â€“ click to open
The ASCOBANS Secretariat would like to express its gratitude to all those who with the many creative ideas and activities contributed to spreading the word about the critically endangered Baltic harbour porpoise!
Latest newsletter of the SAMBAH
5 July 2012 â€“ The latest newsletter
of the SAMBAH (Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise)
project contains some updates relevant to ASCOBANS. Several SAMBAH partners
organized events for the celebration of the International Day of the Baltic
Harbour Porpoise. Work towards realizing the SAMBAH add-on project in
the Russian Kaliningrad region (RUMBAH), which had been recommended by
ASCOBANS AC19, is progressing well.
SAMBAH is an international LIFE+ funded project involving all EU countries around the Baltic Sea, with the ultimate goal of securing the conservation of the Baltic Sea harbour porpoise. The lack of knowledge on the number of animals and their habitat preferences makes effective conservation difficult. Therefore there is an urgent need for collecting data on the size and range of the population and the fluctuation over time. SAMBAH seeks to address this. The project thus serves to fulfil recommendations made in the Jastarnia Plan (Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises).
20 May 2012: The 10th International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise
On Sunday, 20 May 2012, the International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise (IDBHP) will be celebrated around the shores of the Baltic Sea for the 10th time.
The Secretariat has received notification of events planned in the following institutions in Denmark (Fjord & Belt), Finland (SÃ¤rkÃ¤nniemi Dolphinarium) Germany (Meeresmuseum/Ozeaneum Stralsund, Zoo Duisburg and Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig) and Sweden (Aquaria and Gothenburg Natural History Museum).
The Fjord & Belt Centre in Denmark will show a special exhibition about the SAMBAH (Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise) LIFE+ project, which will contribute to more effective conservation measures and population estimates for Baltic porpoises. The scientist, Magnus Wahlberg, will give a public lecture about harbour porpoise conservation in Denmark and the rest of Europe. The Centre will also run a quiz, where the visitors can win nice porpoise-inspired gifts, and serve porpoise-shaped biscuits from a local bakery.
In Finland at the SÃ¤rkÃ¤nniemi Dolphinarium the project leader for the Finnish part of the SAMBAH project, Olli Loisa, will give a lecture on the harbour porpoise. The dolphinarium will also be running a drawing contest for children.
The Meeresmuseum/Ozeaneum Stralsund is planning an event with posters and films providing information on the harbour porpoise, including the DVD â€�Fishing and Pingersâ€� produced in collaboration with ASCOBANS.
In Germany, the Zoo Duisburg will celebrate the IDBHP a little later, on 3 June. For the occasion, the blue whale-sized porpoise drawing created last year will be refreshed and information booths by various marine protection organizations will be erected to inform visitors. The ASCOBANS exhibition will also be shown, and information material distributed. Lectures are also being organized. In addition, a new permanent exhibition will be presented to the public, which will feature a 5-metre-high and 35-metre- wide net spread between three trees, in which 15 porpoise and dolphin species will be portrayed.
Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, Germany, will host the ASCOBANS Secretariatâ€TMs IDBHP event, which at the same time celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Agreement. An exhibition with life-sized inflatable whales, dolphins and porpoises will be shown from 18-22 May. School groups and other visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to experience the true size of â€�smallâ€� cetaceans, hear short interactive presentations on the animals, the threats they face and how everyone can contribute to their conservation, and browse the exhibition banners. In addition, a colouring and origami area for children is being offered and of course plenty of information material to take home.
In Sweden Aquaria, situated in Stockholmâ€TMs DjurgÃ¥rden, will be host to an event organized by SAMBAH, KolmÃ¥rden Djurpark and Aquaria. There will be a quiz walk with nice prizes, a painting contest for children, balloons, and the SAMBAH service ship and crew will be present and provide information on the project.
The Gothenburg Natural History Museum and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) in collaboration with SAMBAH and KolmÃ¥rden Djurpark are organizing various activities for the IDBHP. A frozen harbour porpoise, which had stranded on the Swedish west coast will be put on display. The specimen was collected in order to determine the cause of death and test for environmental toxins. A harbour porpoise skull will also be presented to visitors, as well as a slide show of harbour porpoises with click sounds. Some short lectures about the species, its conservation status, the threats it faces, current research and conservation measures for harbour porpoises and their habitats will be delivered. The Museum also features a unique Whale Hall.
Information about IDBHP events of the past is contained in the Handbook,
which can be downloaded here.
All participating institutions are encouraged to report back to the Secretariat
about their events. We will put a short report on the activities on this
website and include the information and photos in the next update of the
ASCOBANS Advisory Committee Paves Way for Meeting of the Parties
4 April 2012 - The 19th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee (AC),
held from 20-22 March 2012 in Galway, Ireland, concluded with a list of
action points and decisions. More than twenty government representatives
as well as observers and invited experts discussed progress in the implementation
of the decisions of the last Meeting of the Parties (MOP). They agreed
on priority actions for the next months and prepared decisions to be taken
at the 7th MOP, which will be held in October
In particular, intersessional tasks for working groups on bycatch and marine debris were set, as well as those for the joint working groups with ACCOBAMS on underwater noise and relating to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. A Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise Population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat will be finalized and forwarded to MOP7 for adoption. This document will close an important gap in the coverage of the two action plans for the species already in place, which relate to the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.
At the 2013 Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society (ECS), a joint workshop with ECS and ACCOBAMS will be held on the management of marine protected areas for cetaceans. The AC also determined funding priorities, since the Agreement is again in a position to support at least two conservation research projects in 2012. Further, first comments were made on draft decisions to be taken at the upcoming MOP.
A list of action points and decisions, as adopted by Parties at the end of the meeting, can be accessed here.
20th Anniversary of ASCOBANS: Marine Wildlife Roadshow in Galway
From 22-25 March 2012 the Marine Wildlife Roadshow took place in Galway parallel to the ASCOBANS AC19 and ECS meetings. The Roadshow, which was kindly hosted by the Galway Shopping Centre, was brought to the city of Galway by ASCOBANS and was intended to raise awareness amongst the local citizens on the marine diversity of the region and the conservation challenges that the animals living in the coasts of Ireland face. The Roadshow featured life-size inflatable models of marine species including an impressive 15-metre sperm whale, a killer whale, bottlenose dolphins, porpoises and turtles amongst many others. More information and pictures can be accessed here. This Roadshow can be booked for events throughout Europe. More information on the special ASCOBANS Anniversary Offer can be accessed here.
8th Meeting of the ASCOBANS Jastarnia Group Successfully Concluded
6 February 2012 â€“ Last week, the 18 participants of the 8th ASCOBANS Jastarnia Group Meeting gathered at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany. This working group was established to take forward the implementation of the Recovery Plan for the Baltic Harbour Porpoise (also called Jastarnia Plan). Under the leadership of Karl-Hermann Kock (Germany) and Penina Blankett (Finland), who kindly stepped in as chairs on short notice, the Group considered the progress made with respect to the various recommendations of the Jastarnia Plan and agreed on action points to be forwarded to the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee. These cover topics such as bycatch reduction, research and monitoring priorities, the development of management plans for marine protected areas and public awareness. The Group also considered a draft Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises in the Western Baltic, Belt Seas and Kattegat, which will be proposed to AC19 (20-22 March 2012) for endorsement and subsequent adoption by the Meeting of the Parties in October 2012. The report of the meeting will become available shortly and will be published on this website.
Call for Nominations for the 4th ASCOBANS Outreach and Education Award - deadline 29 February
Bonn, 25 January 2012 - This year, ASCOBANS will for
the fourth time present the Outreach and Education Award to an individual
or institution in recognition of outstanding conservation-related awareness-raising
or educational initiatives. The first ASCOBANS Award went to Hel Marine
Station, Poland, in 2005. A second one was awarded to Petra Deimer and
her NGO Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals (GSM) in 2007.
In 2009, Peter Evans received the third Award, acknowledging his role
in connection with the Sea Watch Foundation and the European Cetacean
Nominations for the fourth ASCOBANS Award, which is to be presented in 2012, should reach the Secretariat by 29 February 2012 and should be accompanied by a description of the nomineeâ€TMs relevant activities and a statement of support by the proponent. Please note that nominations can be made by Parties, NGOs or others.
All nominations received by the deadline will be presented to a jury that will be formed, meet and come to a decision on the margins of the 19th Advisory Committee (20-22 March 2012). Their decision will be based on which initiative has made the most valuable contribution to the aims of the Agreement.
The formal presentation of the award will then take place during the 7th Meeting of Parties in October 2012.
We are looking forward to receiving your nominations! For any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Secretariat!
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema Takes up New Assignment in Nairobi
6 January 2012 - CMS Executive Secretary and ASCOBANS Acting Executive
Secretary Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema has been appointed Deputy Director
of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) at the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as of 9 January. Ms Mrema joined
the UNEP/CMS Secretariat as Officer in Charge in July 2009. At the end
of the same year, UNEP Executive Director, Mr Achim Steiner appointed
her as the new Executive Secretary of the UNEP/CMS Secretariat.
Her longstanding expertise as a senior environmental lawyer at UNEP with a particular focus on international environmental law, compliance and enforcement of environmental conventions proved to be a huge asset in leading the CMS Secretariat. Building on her work at the UNEP/Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC) with a focus on Multilateral Environmental Agreements Support and Cooperation and later as the Head of the Biodiversity, Law and Governance Branch, Ms Mrema succeeded in shaping CMS as a lead partner of other biodiversity related Conventions.
At both the 38th meeting of the CMS Standing Committee and the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Bergen Norway in November, 2011, Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema informed the Parties of her intention to step down from the position of UNEP/CMS Executive Secretary so as to take up new functions at the Headquarters.
In a memorandum soon after, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, Ms Amina Mohamed appointed Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema to continue to manage the UNEP/CMS Secretariat from Nairobi, in an acting capacity, together with her new functions until her successor is recruited. This arrangement will apply equally to the management of the ASCOBANS Secretariat and the Gorilla Agreement Interim Secretariat for which she has been serving as the Acting Executive Secretary. The Deputy Executive Secretary of UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Mr Bert Lenten, will manage day-to-day operations of the Secretariat in addition to his regular responsibilities.
In line with Resolution 10.29 adopted by the CMS Parties at their November Meetings, this interim arrangement will ensure continuity of the management of the Secretariat after the departure of the UNEP/CMS Executive Secretary to take up her new assignment at UNEP Headquarters.
The UNEP/CMS Secretariat wishes Ms Mrema all the best for her new responsibilities while continuing to manage the Secretariat from a distance.
29 December 2011: Consultancy Position â€“ Support to the ASCOBANS Secretariat in the Anniversary Year 2012 â€“ deadline for applications 20 January 2012
2012 is a special year for ASCOBANS. Not only does the Agreement hold
its annual Advisory Committee Meeting (March 2012) and its triennial Meeting
of the Parties (October 2012), the year also marks the 20th Anniversary
of the signing of the treaty. This occasion will be commemorated by means
of a special publication as well as a series of events throughout the
Agreement Area, aimed at raising awareness. In order to support the small
Secretariat team in this busy period, a short-term consultant will be
Applicants are requested to make an offer to the Secretariat by 20 January 2012. Please refer to the Terms of Reference for details.
Best wishes for the holidays and the year 2012 - our 20th Anniversary!
Thank you to our CMS colleagues Laura Cerasi and Laura Aguado for the photo and design!
Call for Proposals for Project Funding through ASCOBANS â€“ deadline 15 February
22 December 2011 â€“ As in previous years, the ASCOBANS
Secretariat expects to be able to support a few research and conservation
projects in 2012. At the next Advisory Committee Meeting,
to be held 20-22 March 2012, Parties will make a decision on the use of
any available funds.
If you would like to apply for funding for your project through ASCOBANS, please use this form and return it to us in Word format. The general conditions of funding are outlined in the document and give information on the type of project we can support through the Agreement. The maximum sum the Agreement will spend on any one project is 15,000 Euro. Co-funding from other institutions is welcome. All projects should clearly outline how they would contribute to achieving the conservation objectives of ASCOBANS.
The deadline for submission to the Secretariat is 15 February 2012.
More information on the procedure for submitting a proposal is available here. For any questions, please contact the ASCOBANS Secretariat.
CMS COP10 in Norway Strengthens Cetacean Conservation Worldwide
November 2011 â€“ After intense negotiations over the
entire week, Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory
Species of Wild Animals (CMS) at the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP)
adopted numerous resolutions that call for better protection of marine
species, including cetaceans. Besides decisions of an overarching nature
on topics such as ecological networks (Res.10.3) or climate change (Res.10.19),
four resolutions focus specifically on marine species.
Res.10.4, originally proposed by the Government of Australia, highlights the negative impacts of marine debris on migratory species, caused by ingestion, entanglement and habitat degradation. Besides a call for the identification of hotspots where marine debris accumulates and originates, Parties are encouraged to develop and implement their own national plans of action to address this problem, and to report available information on the amounts, impacts and sources of marine debris within their waters in their national reports.
Res.10.14 deals with bycatch of CMS-listed species in gillnet fisheries. This widely used fishing method has so far received relatively little international attention when it comes to its impacts on migratory species and the assessment of mitigation methods. Seeking to fill that gap, CMS Parties are calling for national assessments of the risk of bycatch arising from their gillnet fisheries, and urged the implementation of best practice mitigation measures tailored to each particular situation. Mitigation measures should be regularly reviewed in order to evaluate their effectiveness, also bearing in mind any effects on other taxa, and research to identify and improve them should be carried out.
Res.10.15 adopts a global programme of work for cetaceans. The mandate to develop this work programme had come from Res.8.22 on human-induced impacts on cetaceans. The resolution instructs the Aquatic Mammals Working Group (AMWG) of the CMS Scientific Council to work intersessionally on the actions requested in the work programme and to invite external experts to participate in these activities. The detailed work programme instructs the CMS Secretariat, the Scientific Council and in particular the AMWG to enhance collaboration with other relevant bodies, including CMS Agreements, to address jointly the threats identified for each region. For the North East Atlantic Ocean, entanglement and bycatch as well as pollution and noise pollution were weighted as high priorities.
Res.10.24 on underwater noise pollution was submitted to the COP by the European Union following the initiative of the Government of Germany. Building on Res.9.19 on the same subject, Parties focused especially on the impact of new or increasing sources of underwater noise, such as those from offshore wind farms and associated shipping. Parties are strongly urged to keep the emission of underwater noise to the lowest necessary level in order to prevent adverse effects on cetaceans, and the application of Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practice (BEP) is recommended. The issue should also be integrated in the management plans of relevant marine protected areas.
The final versions of all resolutions passed by the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS will be uploaded on the CMS website shortly. ENB reports of the meeting can be accessed here.
31 January-2 February 2012: 8th Meeting of the Jastarnia Group, Bonn, Germany
26 October 2012 â€“ The 8th Meeting of the ASCOBANS
Jastarnia Working Group will take place at the Secretariatâ€TMs
premises in Bonn, Germany, from 31 January to 2 February 2012.
The Jastarnia Group was established to take forward the implementation of the Recovery Plan for the Baltic Harbour Porpoise (also called Jastarnia Plan) and includes experts from the environment and fisheries sectors from around the Baltic Sea. Each year, the Jastarnia Group reviews new developments and research and makes recommendations to the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee.
At the upcoming meeting, the Jastarnia Group will also consider a draft paper on conservation measures for harbour porpoises in the western Baltic and Belt Sea, which is intended to close the gap between the North and Baltic Sea action plans currently in place.
Despite international recognition of the need for strict protection of the Baltic sub-population of the harbour porpoise, which is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, and the long-standing efforts on its behalf under ASCOBANS, its conservation status gives reason for grave concern.
Participants are requested to register by 13 January 2012. More information can be requested from the ASCOBANS Secretariat.
ASCOBANS Joins UN Day Celebrations on 22 October
October 2011 - The ASCOBANS Secretariat joined 18 UN Bonn-based agencies
and several other international organizations in celebrating the annual
UN Day in Bonn this weekend.
UN Day is celebrated globally to highlight the aims and achievements of the United Nations. The day marks the anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter on 24 October 1945 and has been observed annually in Bonn since the city became a host city to several United Nations organizations in 1996.
With this yearâ€TMs theme â€�8:0 for development â€“ If not me who else?â€� the UN Day focused on the personal engagement of all of us to make this a better world and to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals, which include stopping extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability.
Thousands of people attended this yearâ€TMs festivities in the city centre of Bonn, which took place on Bonn's central market square. Accompanied by a colourful variety of entertainment, including music and dance performances from around the world, visitors got the chance to find out more about the different activities and goals of the various UN Bonn organizations and received give-aways, such as posters, stickers and other information material.
The ASCOBANS Secretariat shared an exhibition tent with the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), its other Bonn-based Agreements AEWA and EUROBATS and several other UN Bonn organizations.
Release of â€�Odontocetes â€“ The toothed whalesâ€�
October 2011 â€“ For 86 per cent of all toothed whale
species, entanglement in gillnets, traps, weirs, purse seines, longlines
and trawls is resulting in an unsustainably high death toll. This is among
the findings of a report published today by the Convention on the Conservation
of Migratory Species of Wild Animals under the UN Environment Programme
The report is an encyclopaedia on the 72 species of toothed whales compiled by Professor Boris Culik of Kiel University in Germany and represents the most recent scientific findings on the distribution, migration, behaviour and threats to this suborder of the cetaceans, which includes sperm whales, beaked whales, porpoises and dolphins.
The UNEP/ASCOBANS Secretariat will present a free copy of the publication to each participant in the upcoming 19th Meeting of the Advisory Committee. The web version of the report can be accessed here.
Click here to read the UNEP press release.
20-22 March 2012: 19th Meeting of the Advisory Committee, Galway, Ireland
4 October 2011 â€“ Invitations for the 19th Meeting
of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee have been sent out. It will be held
from 20-22 March 2012 at the Galway Bay Hotel in Galway, Ireland. The
registration form has been posted on this page,
where also the Provisional Agenda and more information on the venue and
travel will be made available along with documents prepared for the meeting.
The Advisory Committee was established to facilitate the implementation of the ASCOBANS Agreement and the decisions of the Parties by providing advice and information to the Secretariat and the Parties between the sessions of the Meeting of Parties (MOP). Reports of past meetings can be accessed here.
Observers are usually welcome to attend these meetings. Those interested are required to inform the Secretariat in writing of their intention to participate no later than 20 January 2012 to allow Parties time to decide on their admission. Please refer to the official invitation letter for details. For any questions, please contact the ASCOBANS Secretariat.
News items of previous years can be accessed in the archive