The 14th Annual Meeting of the Scientific Committee was held in Reykjavik, Iceland, 21-23 November.
Among other matters, the Scientific Committee considered reports from the Working Group on Fin Whales, the Working Group on Harbour Seals, and the Working Group for Planning the Trans North Atlantic Sightings Survey (TNASS). Further information about the Scientific Committee is available here. The report of the 14th meeting is available online.
The 15th Annual Meeting of the NAMMCO Council was held 14-16 March 2006 in Selfoss, Iceland. The Report of the Scientific Committee as well as reports from other working groups and subcommittees was presented to the Council. In addition the Management Committee, Management Committee Working Group on By-catch and the Finance and Administration Committee also held meetings and reported back to the Council. The reports are to be found in the Annual Report 2005.
NAMMCO Workshop to Address the Problems of Struck and Lost in Seal, Walrus and Whale Hunting was held on 14 -16 November 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The NAMMCO Committee on Hunting Methods hosted a workshop to Address the Problem of "Struck and Lost" in Seal, Walrus and Whale Hunting, 14-16 November in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Terms of Reference for the meeting were:
To review hunting methods for seal, walrus and whale with respect to the problem of “struck and lost” (S/L)
To identify possible studies of S/L to be undertaken in co-operation between researchers and hunters, in order to achieve accurate and reliable estimates of S/L
To identify the reasons why some hunts have a high or low S/L rate
To make recommendations on how to reduce S/L, in consideration of hunting techniques, equipment modifications, season, locality and reduction of animal suffering.
The aim of the Workshop was to improve catch relative to effort, to reduce animal suffering and improve the public image of hunting.
The Workshop formulated recommendations both on a general and species specific level on methods, techniques and equipment to reduce S/L that are applicable at the local level.
The NAMMCO Scientific Committee held its second international meeting to plan and co-ordinate the Trans North Atlantic Sightings Survey (T-NASS) 18-19 November 2006 in Reykjavík, Iceland.
The T-NASS project will estimate the abundance of cetacean populations in the Northern North Atlantic from survey data collected during summer 2007. It will become part of a long-term series of international North Atlantic Sightings Surveys (NASS) that have been conducted in 1987, 1989, 1995 and 2001. The T-NASS will cover areas to the west of Greenland and the northeastern coast of Canada that have not been covered in earlier surveys, providing a full trans-Atlantic coverage for the first time. Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and the Russian Federation will participate in the survey which will also be co-ordinated with surveys conducted in other areas of the North Atlantic. T-NASS will also be an International Polar Year project.
The NAMMCO Scientific Committee held its first International Working Group on Harbour Seals, 3-6 October 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Until now, there has not been a full assessment of the status of harbour seals in the North Atlantic. NAMMCO Scientific Committee has previously provided information on the role of harbour seals as a source of nematodal infestations in fish (NAMMCO 1997) and in September 2005 the HELCOM/ICES/EU Seal Expert Workshop reviewed the status of seal populations, including harbour seals, in the Baltic Sea.
Harbour seal abundance has fluctuated in the Northeast Atlantic in recent years due to local outbreaks of viral distemper. Usually these outbreaks have been followed by rapid recoveries, and harbour seal abundance may have increased in many areas. In some NAMMCO areas, harbour seals are harvested and/or taken incidentally by fisheries and aquaculture operations (e.g. Greenland, Norway and Iceland). They also have significant direct and indirect interactions with fisheries in many areas. For these reasons, one of the main tasks of the new Working Group will therefore be to review the status of harbour seals throughout the North Atlantic.
The general terms of reference of this Working Group are:
- Review and assess the status of harbour seals throughout the North Atlantic;
- Review and evaluate the applied survey methods;
- Assess stock delineation using available data on genetics, spatial and temporal distribution and other sources;
- Review available information about harbour seal ecology;
- Identify interactions with fisheries and aquaculture.
The meeting took place as scheduled and included invited experts and members of the Scientific Committee only. The report from this Working Group was considered by the Scientific Committee at its meeting 21-23 November 2006 - see Annex 1 of the report of the 14th meeting of the Scientific Committee.
A joint NAMMCO-IWC Scientific Workshop on the Catch History, Stock Structure and Abundance of North Atlantic Fin Whales was held 23 - 26 March 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The purpose of the Workshop was to provide information necessary for the NAMMCO Scientific Committee to continue its ongoing assessment of all stocks of North Atlantic fin whales, and for the IWC Scientific Committee in their “Pre-Implementation Assessment” of North Atlantic fin whales. The Report from the Workshop is in Annex 2 of the report of the 14th Scientific Committee meeting in October 2006.
The NAMMCO Scientific Committee held its first planning meeting for the Trans North Atlantic Sightings Surveys (TNASS) in Reykjavik, Iceland on 19 March 2006.
The TNASS project will estimate the abundance of cetacean populations in the Northern North Atlantic from survey data collected during summer 2007. It will become part of a long-term series of international North Atlantic Sightings Surveys (NASS) that have been conducted in 1987, 1989, 1995 and 2001. The TNASS will cover areas to the west of Greenland and the northeastern coast of Canada that have not been covered in earlier surveys, providing a full trans-Atlantic coverage for the first time. Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and the Russian Federation will participate in the survey, which will also be co-ordinated with surveys conducted in other areas of the North Atlantic. TNASS will also be an International Polar Year project.