Scientific Committee Workshops and Symposia

Here you will find documents related to recent Workshops and Symposia under NAMMCOs Scientific Committee. Reports can be found here.

The NAMMCO Panarctic Bearded Seal Workshop (BSWS) was held in online format on March 21 – 23, 2023. The meeting was co-chaired online by Peter Boveng (NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center) and Christian Lydersen (Norwegian Polar Institute). The purpose and objective of this Workshop were:


  • To review new information since 2010 (Cameron et al. 2010) and, based on all the information available, assess the status and trends of the species throughout its range and identify threats and critical knowledge gaps.


  • Consider new knowledge from 2010-present (since the Cameron et al. 2010 review of bearded seals)
  • Examine progress in defining stock structure by exploring:
    • Outcomes of new genetic analysis; and
    • Other data informing stock structure (e.g., Indigenous knowledge, distribution and movements, hunting patterns, vocalizations, etc.).
  • Review and assess population/stock abundance, trends, status, health, and condition.

The NAMMCO-JCNB Joint Working Group (JWG) on narwhal and beluga met the days 12-16th of December of 2022 at the Greenlandic Representation in in Copenhagen (Denmark). The JWG held a workshop to assess the anthropogenic impacts on marine mammals of mining activities in Canada and Greenland.

00 Terms of Reference

01 Revised Draft Agenda (07/12/2022)

02 Draft List of Participants and Observers (08/12/2022)

03 Revised Draft List of Documents (15/12/2022)

Meeting Documents (password protected)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The purpose of this joint workshop is to enable different expert research teams to compare approaches for modelling populations of a range of northern phocid species with similar life histories, focusing on species for which abundance estimates are fundamentally based on pup counts. The genesis for this workshop was a recommendation in 2019 by the ICES/NAFO/NAMMCO Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals ​(WGHARP)​, who recommended that ICES and/or NAMMCO convene a workshop on population assessment models for seals in the North Atlantic to advance model development with respect to uncertainty in fecundity and other input parameters. Techniques developed in this workshop will help inform future ICES benchmark meetings intended to review and improve assessment methodology.

Agenda for the Workshop

Meeting documents for this workshop are available on the ICES Sharepoint site.

3-7 December 2018, Tromsø, Norway

This international workshop on the Status of Harbour Porpoises in the North Atlantic was organised by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and NAMMCO, in cooperation with scientists from the Sea Mammal Research Unit (UK), NEFSC-NOAA Fisheries (US), Fisheries and Oceans (Canada), Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (Ireland), and the University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden).

The North Atlantic harbour porpoise is subject to increasing anthropogenic activities, including directed and incidental removals, noise and chemical pollution and other anthropogenic disturbances, as well as effects from climate and environmental changes. The goal of the workshop was to update the 1999 NAMMCO review, taking into account the 2008 IUCN assessment, and report on the conservation status of the North Atlantic harbour porpoise population(s). This current review will outline knowledge gaps and will provide recommendations for monitoring and research priorities for future assessments in this region.


The aims of the workshop were:

–               to identify the appropriate assessment units (populations/sub-populations/ecological stocks/management units/assessment units) for harbour porpoises in the North Atlantic and/or knowledge gaps for doing so

And for each assessment unit:

–               review information on distribution, abundance, directed and incidental catches, and life history parameters, in order to determine if it reaches the threshold for conducting a quantitative assessment

–               identify knowledge gaps and define research priorities and opportunities to cooperate to assess the conservation status within each unit, as well as monitoring requirements within each unit.


01 – Draft Agenda

02 – Participants list

28-29 October 2017, Halifax, Canada

1. To generate a set of North Atlantic wide abundance estimates for 2015/16 for those cetacean species for which sufficient data are available.
Species to include: minke whale, fin whale, humpback whale, pilot whale, sperm whale, whitebeaked dolphin, white-sided dolphin, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise, beaked/bottlenose whales? others?
Estimates will be design-based, corrected for g(0) (if possible and if appropriate), and have appropriate measures of precision.
Outcomes: a complete set of estimates or, more likely, an incomplete set of estimates and an action plan to achieve a complete set in timely fashion.
2. To discuss modelling the spatial and temporal distribution and habitat use of cetaceans in the North Atlantic using data from 2015/16.
Discussions to include: the most important and available variables to inform modelling; the merits or otherwise of modelling the entire northern North Atlantic; the challenges of
combining multiple datasets from different projects/platforms/methodologies; logistics of making this happen (who, how funded, when, etc); other?
Outcomes: an action plan for moving forward.


Logistical information

Agenda and Provisional Schedule

Participants List (coming soon)

Distribution/abundance information for the Workshop

North Atlantic Abundance Estimates

Map of recently surveyed areas (coming soon)

NAMMCO Abundance Estimates Working Group Report Oct 2016


More reading…

Mannocci et al 2017 Extrapolating cetacean densities to quantitatively assess human impacts on populations in the high seas

Roberts et al 2016 Habitat-based cetacean density models for the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

Ballance et al 2006 Oceanographic influences on seabirds and cetaceans of the eastern tropical Pacific: A review

Vikingsson et al (2015) Distribution, abundance, and feeding ecology of baleen whales in Icelandic waters: have recent environmental changes had an effect?

MERP Summary for NAMMCO Workshop

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