Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee at the 24rd Meeting (2017) at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute in Reykjavík, Iceland

The Scientific Committee provides scientific advice in response to requests from the Council (See the list of requests and answers here) and at its own initiative if it has identified an issue of concern, utilising existing scientific information to the extent that this is possible. Rules of Procedure govern the Committee’s functions.

The Scientific Committee is comprised of members appointed by NAMMCO nations. Each NAMMCO nation may appoint up to 6 members of the Scientific Committee. Members of the Secretariat are also ex officio, non-voting members of the Scientific Committee.

The Scientific Committee meets annually, usually in the autumn. Reports from past meetings can be found here. The most recent meeting was the 25th Scientific Committee meeting, which was held 12-16 November 2018 on M/S Polarlys sailing along the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Tromsø. The report of the meeting can be found here.

A large portion of the work of the Scientific Committee takes place within Working Groups, which you can read more about below.

Scientific Committee Members

Faroe Islands:
Bjarni Mikkelsen, Faroese Museum of Natural History

Greenland:
Aqqalu Rosing-Asvid, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Fernando Ugarte, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Lars Witting, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Rikke Guldborg Hansen, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources

Iceland:
Bjarki Þór Elvarsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Iceland
Gísli Víkingsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Iceland
Sandra Granquist, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute
Thorvaldur Gunnlaugsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Iceland

Norway:
Christian Lydersen, Norwegian Polar Institute
Kjell Tormod Nilssen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway
Mette Skern-Mauritzen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway
Nils Øien, Institute of Marine Research, Norway
Tore Haug, Institute of Marine Research, Norway

The Faroe Islands currently holds the Chair of the Scientific Committee, currently represented by:

Bjarni Mikkelsen, Chair (Faroe Islands)

Working Groups

Coastal Seals Working Group, Reykjavik, Iceland, March 2016
Coastal Seals Working Group, Reykjavik, Iceland, March 2016
img_1777
The Joint ICES/NAFO/NAMMCO Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals, Tromsø, Norway, September 2019. © Gunnar Sætra, IMR
The Joint ICES/NAFO/NAMMCO Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals, Tromsø, Norway, September 2019. © Gunnar Sætra, IMR

The Scientific Committee organises Working Groups (WGs) to address specific issues as needed. In addition to members of the Scientific Committe, external experts are invited to chair and/or participate in these specialist working groups in order to acquire the best possible knowledge. This involvement of particpants external to NAMMCO widens and strengthens the expertise available for the WG and supports transparency. Over sixty Working Group meetings have been held since NAMMCO’s beginning and the reports from these WGs can be found here, or sorted by theme here.

Joint Working Groups

The Scientific Committee also works with other organisations on matters of mutual scientific interest. For example, the Scientific Committee has special Joint Scientific Working Group meetings with the Joint Commission on Narwhal and Beluga (JCNB) between Canada and Greenland, and is also a co-convenor of the ICES/NAFO/NAMMCO working group on harp and hooded seals (WGHARP). In addition, in March 2006 the Scientific Committee held a joint working group meeting with the IWC on fin whales.

Upcoming Working Group meetings

The following WG meetings are in the calendar for the remainder of 2019. These meetings are open to members of the NAMMCO Scientific Committee and Invited Experts.

24sepAll Day27NAMMCO Ad hoc Working Group on Narwhal in East Greenland (NEGWG)

08octAll Day10NAMMCO Abundance Estimates Working Group (AEWG)

Standing Working Groups with General Aims and Terms of Reference

 

Abundance Estimates Working Group

  1. Develop estimates of abundance and trends from sightings surveys as soon as possible.
  2. Monitor stock levels and trends in stocks of all marine mammals in the North Atlantic.
  3. Co-ordinate future sighting surveys and analyses of the results from such surveys in the North Atlantic.
Find all reports here and all meeting documents here.

By-catch Working Group

  1. Identify all fisheries with potential by-catch of marine mammals.
  2. Review and evaluate current by-catch estimates for marine mammals in NAMMCO countries.
  3. If necessary, provide advice on improved data collection and estimation methods to obtain best
    estimates of total by-catch over time.
Find all reports here and all meeting documents here.

Coastal Seals Working Group

  1. Review national management plans for harbour and grey seals.
  2. Perform assessments for harbour and grey seals in the NAMMCO areas and when possible in
    other North-Atlantic areas
  3. Develop a common management model for both species in the NAMMCO areas.
  4. To investigate the effects of non-hunting related anthropogenic stressors for both species,
    including the cumulative impacts of global warming, by-catch, pollution and disturbance.
Find all reports here and all meeting documents here.

Harbour Porpoise Working Group

  1. To conduct a comprehensive assessment of the harbour porpoise throughout its range.
  2. To investigate the effects of non-hunting related anthropogenic stressors for the species,
    including the cumulative impacts of global warming, by-catch, pollution and disturbance.
Find all reports here and all meeting documents here.

ICES/NAMMCO/NAFO Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals

  1. To assess the status and harvest potential of the harp and hooded seal stocks.
  2. Evaluate new model developments.
  3. Explore the impact of proposed harvest strategies.
  4. To investigate the effects of non-hunting related anthropogenic stressors for both species,
    including the cumulative impacts of global warming, by-catch, pollution and disturbance.
Find all reports here and all meeting documents here.

Joint NAMMCO/JCNB Working Group on Narwhal and Beluga

  1. To provide or update the assessment in all areas of narwhals and belugas.
  2. To provide advice on the effects of human disturbance, including noise and shipping activities,
    on the distribution, behaviour and conservation status of belugas and narwhals.
Find all reports here and all meeting documents here.

Large Whale Assessment Working Group

  1. To perform and update the assessments and provide management advice.
Find all reports here.

Walrus Working Group

  1. Provide an updated assessment of walruses, to include stock delineation, abundance, harvest,
    stock status, and priorities for research.
  2. To investigate the effects of non-hunting related anthropogenic stressors for the species,
    including the cumulative impacts of global warming, by-catch, pollution and disturbance.
Find all reports here and all meeting documents here.

 

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