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 to Council in response to requests from the Council (See here the list of requests and answers) and at its own initiative if it has identify an issue of concern, utilising to the extent possible existing scientific information. The Rules of Procedure govern the Committee’s functions. The Scientific Committee comprises members appointed by the member nations. Members of the Secretariat are ex officio, non-voting members.

The Scientific Committee meets annually, usually in the Fall. Reports from past meetings can be found here. The most recent meeting was the 24th Scientific Committee meeting, and was held 14-17 November 2017 in Reykjavík, Iceland. 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.

Norway holds the Chair and the Faroe Islands holds the Vice-Chair, currently represented by:

Tore Haug, Chair (Norway)
Bjarni Mikkelsen, Vice-Chair (Faroe Islands)

Scientific Committee Members

Faroe Islands:
Bjarni Mikkelsen, Faroese Museum of Natural History, bjarnim@savn.fo

Greenland:
Aqqalu Rosing-Asvid, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, aqqalu@natur.gl
Fernando Ugarte, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, feug@natur.gl
Lars Witting, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, larsw@natur.gl
Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, mhj@ghsdk.dk
Rikke Guldborg Hansen, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, rgh@ghsdk.dk

Iceland:
Bjarki Þór Elvarsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Iceland, bjarki.elvarsson@hafogvatn.is
Gísli Víkingsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Iceland, gisli.vikingsson@hafogvatn.is
Sandra Granquist, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, sandra@veidimal.is
Thorvaldur Gunnlaugsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Iceland, thg@hafro.is

Norway:
Christian Lydersen, Norwegian Polar Institute, christian.lydersen@npolar.no
Kjell Tormod Nilssen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway, kjell.tormod.nilssen@imr.no
Mette Skern-Mauritzen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway, mette.mauritzen@imr.no
Nils Øien, Institute of Marine Research, Norway, nils.oien@imr.no
Tore Haug, Institute of Marine Research, Norway, tore.haug@imr.no

Working Groups

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beaufort-participants

The Scientific Committee organises Working Groups (WGs) to address specific issues as needed. External experts are invited to chair and/or participate in these specialist working groups in order to acquire the best possible knowledge by widening and strengthening expertise and supporting transparency. Over sixty Working Group meetings have been held since NAMMCO’s beginning, and the reports from these WGs can be found here.

Joint Working Groups

The Scientific Committee 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 part of the ICES/NAFO/NAMMCO working group on harp and hooded seals (WGHARP). In addition, in March 2006 the Scientific Committee also held a joint working group meeting with the IWC on fin whales.

Upcoming Working Group meetings

The following meetings are planned in 2018. The meetings are open only to members of the NAMMCO Scientific Committee, and Invited Experts.

  • Walrus Working Group – October 23-25, 2018, Greenland Representation, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Harbour Porpoise Working Group – Spring 2019, date and location TBD
  • ICES/NAFO/NAMMCO Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals – September 2019, Tromsø, date TBD

Recent Working Group Meetings

Abundance Estimates Working Group

22-24 May 2018, to consider abundance estimates particularly from the most recent NASS in 2015, but also from previous and more recent surveys. Read the report here.

By-Catch Working Group

4 April 2018, to review by-catch estimates of harbour porpoises and grey and harbour seals in Iceland and get update on the implementation of the last WG meeting’s recommendations. Read the report here.

Workshop on Cetacean Abundance and Distribution in the North Atlantic

The Workshop was held in conjunction with the Society for Marine Mammalogy in Halifax, Canada 28 – 29 October 2017.  Read the report here.

By-Catch Working Group

2-4 May 2017, to review by-catch estimates of harbour porpoises and grey and harbour seals in Norway and Iceland. Read the report here.

Global Review of Monodontids

13-16 March 2017. The main goals of this meeting will be to 1) share current scientific knowledge on the status of each stock, 2) identify the main gaps in knowledge, 3) identify key threats to each stock, and 4) outline possible areas of scientific cooperation. Read the report here.

Joint NAMMCO/JCNB Working Group on Narwhal and Beluga

8-11 March 2017, to update the assessments for the shared narwhal and beluga stocks between Canada and Greenland. Read the report here.

Large Whale Assessment Working Group

25-27 January 2017, to update the assessments for fin, humpback and minke whales. Read the report here.

Abundance Estimates Working Group

16-18 October 2016, to review abundance estimates generated from the NASS2015 and associated surveys. Read the report here.

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

26-30 September 2016, to update the assessments for harp and hooded seals. Read the report here: ICES-NAMMCO-NAFO WGHARP Report September 2016

Participation from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Greenland, the UK and USA.
Participation from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Greenland, the UK and USA.
© Ann Harvey
© Ann Harvey
Hard at work at the Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals
Hard at work at the Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals
hooded seal
© Ann Harvey
Coastal Seals Working Group, Reykjavik, Iceland, March 2016

Coastal Seals Working Group, Reykjavik, Iceland, March 2016

Coastal Seals Working Group

1-4 March 2016 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Terms of Reference for the meeting were to:

  • Assess the status of all populations, particularly using new abundance estimate data that are available from Iceland and Norway.
  • Address by-catch issues in Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands
  • Re-evaluate the Norwegian management plans (which have been already implemented) for grey and harbour seals.
  • Develop specific plans for monitoring grey seals in the Faroes, e.g., obtaining a relative series of abundance (if a full abundance estimate is not possible at this time).

Read the report here: Coastal Seals Working Group 1-4 March, Reykjavik, Iceland

By-Catch Working Group

29 February 2016, Reykjavik, Iceland. This was a planning meeting which focused on planning the work of the NAMMCO BYCWG, its modus operandi and a future meeting, as well as advising on a chair. Read the report here: By-Catch Working Group, 29 February 2016, Reykjavik, Iceland

Large Whale Assessment Working Group

5-7 October 2015, Copenhagen, Denmark. The Working Group provided scientific advice on quotas for fin and common minke whales in Iceland, and humpback whales in Greenland. Read the report here: Large Whale Assessment WG Report, 2015

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