The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission


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NAMMCO comprises member countries which have representation through the Council. Advice on management and research needs currently comes through four main Channels:  two Management Committees — one dealing with whales and the other with seals and walruses, the Scientific Committee and the Committee on Hunting Methods. All Committees elect from among it's members a Chair and Vice-Chair, each of whom serve for a defined period, as defined in the Rules of Procedure for their Committee. Each of these committees can appoint working groups to investigate special issues. In addition there are Committees on Finance and Administration, Observation and Inspection, and the Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme. Council is served by a Secretariat. Additional information is provided below on these items and in the text of the Agreement.



The main elements of the Commission are:

The Council, the decision-making body of the Commission, which meets on an annual basis to review advice requested from the Scientific Committee, to coordinate recommendations for further scientific research and to review hunting methods for marine mammals in member countries. The Rules of Procedure for the Council govern its functions.


The Management Committees, which make proposals for conservation and management and recommendations for scientific research with respect to stocks of marine mammals within their mandate. Currently there are two Management Committees, one for Seals and Walruses and one for Cetaceans. The Rules of Procedure for the Management Committees govern their functions.


The Scientific Committee, which provides scientific advice in response to requests from the Council, utilising to the extent possible existing scientific information. The Rules of Procedure for the Scientific Committee govern its functions.


The Committee on Hunting Methods, which provides advice on hunting methods for marine mammals upon request from the Council or individual member countries. The Rules of Procedure for the Committee on Hunting Methods govern its functions.


The Committee on Inspection and Observation, which provides advice on the Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme for the hunting of marine mammals and monitors the implementation of the Observer Scheme under the Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme. The Rules of Procedure for the Committee on Inspection and Observation govern its functions.


The Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme for the Hunting of Marine Mammals is managed by the NAMMCO Secretariat and includes international observation of sealing and whaling activities in NAMMCO member countries. The Secretariat is responsible for the implementation of the Observation Scheme and each year observers are contracted to observe hunting activities in the NAMMCO member countries. The Provisions of the Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme for the Hunting of Marine Mammals govern the Scheme.


The NAMMCO Secretariat has three full-time staff members. These include a General Secretary, assisted by a Deputy Secretary and a Scientific Secretary. The Secretariat is responsible for carrying out the work of the Commission, coordinating and organising meetings of the various NAMMCO Committees and preparing and publishing the reports from NAMMCO.