Assessing status and Managing stocks

NAMMCO provides scientific advice to the member countries on the status and management of marine mammal populations. Council requests scientific advice from the Scientific Committee, which often is related to sustainability of catches, but has also included issues such as interactions between marine mammals and fisheries, and the effects of human activities on marine mammals in the Arctic.

Assessments of stocks require basic information such as abundance, trends, and numbers of removals (from direct catches, by-catch, and other sources of mortality). Additional information on the species such as survival rate, reproductive rate, age at first reproduction, etc., are also essential for population modelling. The assessments are conducted by the Scientific Committee, usually during specific Working Groups that include international experts on the species and stocks in question, and on population modelling.

NAMMCO seeks to implement an Ecosystem Approach to management, where marine mammals are seen as a part of a whole ecosystem, and where all human impacts are taken into account, not only hunting. See section on How humans affect marine mammals.


Population modelling showing an increase in the beluga population in West Greenland. Circles indicate abundance estimates from surveys. Following the advice of NAMMCO, quotas were introduced in 2004.

Read more about the Scientific Committee and its Working Groups.

Work done in NAMMCO:

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