October 09, 2017: BEHIND NAMMCO – Charlotte Winsnes, Secretariat
The people behind NAMMCO:
Behind – but dominating the scenes since 1995, always there, welcoming, efficient and smiling, by far the highest in the Secretariat at all times 🙂 — Charlotte Winsnes, Deputy Secretary.
My involvement with NAMMCO started back in 1994 when Kate Sanderson, the General Secretary at the time, approached me with a proposition to help organise the Shetland Conference on Marine Mammals and the Marine Environment. This was the beginning of several contract periods up until I became a permanent member of the Secretariat in 2000.
My knowledge of marine mammals was limited to say the least. But being a Norwegian and having worked with the research follow up of the Brundtland report (1987 Our Common Future) I had and still have a strong belief in our right as humans to utilise the resources at hand when we do this in a sustainable and responsible manner. I began my years at the University with studies of mathematics, statistics and economy and finally I encountered anthropology. The realisation that humans have organised societies and adhere to belief systems that are diverse and often very different from my cultural understanding and societal organisation was enlightening and gave inspiration and has also given resonance in my work with NAMMCO.
Now I know a lot about marine mammals – such as how many they are both in terms of species and stocks and also in terms of abundances, how quickly they die if hunted correctly, how pollution, climate change, fisheries etc affect them and what a multifaceted resource they are – with nutrition and food as one of the most compelling aspects in my mind.
NAMMCO still has a big job to do in conveying the facts about marine mammals and I am pleased to be a part of this journey.