NAMMCO Scientific Committee – Meet the New Vice Chair.
NAMMCO is pleased to welcome the new Vice Chair of the Scientific Committee Aqqalu Rosing-Asvind.
Aqqalu is a Senior Scientist with the Department of Birds and Mammals at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, where he primarily focuses on research and management of seals.
Aqqalu has been involved with NAMMCO since 1993, when he joined the Greenlandic delegation to the Scientific Committee shortly after his graduation from the University of Copenhagen. Aqqalu is also an active member of the joint working group of the International Council for the Exploration of the SEA (ICES), North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) and NAMMCO on Harp and Hooded seals (WGHARP).
With primary interests in marine ecology and the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems and the management of marine mammals, for Aqqalu, the sustainability of seal and whale hunting is essential to secure both animal abundance and the livelihood of the hunters. In his own words:
“When I finished elementary school in Southwest Greenland back in the late 1970s, my main interest in life was hunting and fishing. It became my occupation for years before I started at university. Back then, there were hardly any limitations on the hunt, but marine mammals were few in Southwest Greenland at that time. Commercial sealing had reduced the harp seal population significantly and it was kept at a low level until regulations in the 1970s allowed the population to grow again.
The population has since grown from around 1 million to approximately 7 million, allowing the catch level of harp seals in southwest Greenland (the most important seal species for hunters in that area) to now be many times higher than it was in the 1970s and the catches are sustainable. Another marked change in the ecosystems around Greenland since the 1970-80s has been the return of large cetaceans like humpback whales, fin whales and bowhead whales. These whales were few and rarely encountered near the settlements previously. The moratorium on commercial whaling has helped these and other whale species to bounce back up in numbers.”
Aqqalu will have his first meeting as Vice Chair when the NAMMCO Scientific Committee meets in the Faroe Islands from October 29-November 1 2019.