The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission


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NAMMCO SC Working Group on Walruses


The Scientific Committee WG on Walruses met in Copenhagen, Denmark, 23-26 November 2009 to discuss a number of issues as given below. There were invited experts from outside NAMMCO countries. The report is Annex 2 of the 17th report of the Scientific Committee.

 The Terms of Reference for the Working Group included:

  1. A full assessment of North Water, West Greenland-Eastern Baffin Island and East Greenland.
  2. To provide an updated assessment of walrus, to include stock delineation, abundance, harvest, stock status and priorities for research.
  3. To provide advice on the effects of human disturbance, including fishing and shipping activities, in particular scallop fishing, on the distribution, behaviour and conservation status of walrus in West Greenland.
  4. To provide a formal assessment of the Davis Strait stock as soon as finalization of the catch series is complete and the results from the planned 2007 survey are available.
  5. To provide estimates of sustainable yields of the North Water and West Greenland stocks of walrus.


NAMMCO 18th Council Meeting

The NAMMCO Council members convened in Tromsø, Norway, 8-10 September 2009. The two NAMMCO Management Committees - for Cetaceans, and for Seals and Walruses -  also met during this period to consider advice from the Scientific Committee and provide recommendations to Council. The report is online in the Annual Report 2009.


(Non-governmental organisations may be admitted as observers pending approval of their application which should be at least 90 days prior to the meeting, and include information on the role, functions and operations of their organisation and name and status of the person within the organisation who will represent them. A decision on the application will be made at latest 30 days before the meeting.)

NAMMCO Committee on Hunting Methods

The Committee on Hunting Methods met in Reykjavik, Iceland, 23 April 2009. See the report in the NAMMCO Annual Report 2009.

NAMMCO 16th Scientific Committee Meeting

The NAMMCO Scientific Committee met in Iceland, 19-22 April 2009. The report of the Committee, which includes advice and recommendations, was presented to Council for approval at its meeting in Tromsø, Norway in September 2009.

NAMMCO SC Working Group on Marine Mammals and Fisheries Interactions

The NAMMCO Scientific Committee WG on Marine Mammals Fisheries Interactions met in Iceland, 15-17 April 2009, to address MARINE MAMMALS AND FISHERIES IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC: ESTIMATING CONSUMPTION AND MODELLING INTERACTIONS. The meeting was attended by members of the Scientifc Commitee and invited experts including experts from non-member countries. The report is Annex 3 of the 16th report of the Scientific Committee.

The general Terms of Reference for this Working Group were derived from the Council and Management Committee reports (NAMMCO 17):

“There is an ongoing request to the Scientific Committee to monitor progress made in multi-species modelling and in the collection of input data and to decide when enough progress has been made to warrant further efforts in this area. In addition, the Scientific Committee has been requested to review the results of the Icelandic programme on the feeding ecology of minke whales and multi-species modelling as soon as these become available. 

In addressing the standing requests on ecosystem modelling and marine mammal fisheries interaction, the Scientific Committee is requested to extend the focus to include all areas under NAMMCO jurisdiction. In the light of the distributional shifts (of species) seen under T-NASS 2007, the Scientific Committee should investigate dynamic changes in spatial distribution due to ecosystem changes and functional responses.” 

In addition, there was an ongoing request for advice from NAMMCO 15: 

“The Scientific Committee is requested to evaluate how both a projected decrease and a projected increase in the total population of Northwest Atlantic harp seals might affect the proportion of animals summering in Greenland.”

NAMMCO SC Assessment Working Group

At its 17th meeting the NAMMCO Council asked the Scientific Committee to "conduct a full assessment, including long term sustainability of the catches, of common minke whales in the Central North Atlantic" (NAMMCO 2008). 

At the same time the Scientific Committee was requested to assess the short-term (2-5 years) effects of the following total annual catches: 0, 100, 200, 400" (NAMMCO 2008). This and assessment work on pilot, humprback and sei whales were the main focus of the meeting held in Copenhagen, 22-23 March 2009. 

The report of the meeting is Annex 2 of the 16th report of the Scientific Committee.


NAMMCO Expert Working Group on best practices in hunting and killing of seals

The NAMMCO Committee on Hunting Methods held an Expert Working Group meeting in Copenhagen 24-26 February 2009. This WG was a specialist one with participation by invitation only. Independent experts participated from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and included member nations' representatives from the Hunting Committee. Observers were not permitted at this WG meeting.

The NAMMCO Council asked the Expert WG to “give recommendations on best practices based on the state of the art in sealing today and to identify where and how specific improvements can be made”. The report from this WG is available online.

NAMMCO-JCNB Scientific Working Group meeting

The Joint Working Group of the NAMMCO-JCNB met to discuss belugas and narwhals in Winnipeg, Canada, 17-20 February 2009. The report is available as Annex 1 of the 16th report of the Scientific Committee.