Lake Bled – and the view from the meeting rooms at the IWC’s Scientific Committee meetings in 2018
The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) met from April 25th- May 7th in Bled, Slovenia. The ASWN was well represented at this meeting with invited participants from Oman’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, the Environment Society of Oman, Five Oceans Environmental Services, the Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF, and various international scientists who have been involved in research and conservation of whales in the Arabian Sea. Despite being unable to attend in person, invited ASWN members from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India submitted valuable documents to the meeting. As such, ASWN members presented multiple papers with updates and information about whale research and conservation efforts in the Arabian Sea. Most of these were presented to the sub-committee that focused on conservation management plans (CMP), although aspects of Arabian Sea whale work were also discussed in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) subcommittee, the subcommittee looking at environment and health issues for whales (E), and the subcommittee focusing on photo-identification databases for whale research (PH). Links to download the papers that were presented and discussed can be found blow.
The papers were well received and generated valuable discussion and feedback. The scientific committee commended the work that had been done, and encouraged the continuation of the various research and conservation efforts underway including:
- regional collaboration for research and capacity building;
- work toward a joint CMS-IWC conservation management plan;
- collection of data on whale distribution through Pakistan’s crew-based observer programme;
- satellite tagging and threat- and health assessments of humpback whales off the coast of Oman;
- collection of data on whale strandings, sightings, and song off the coast of India;
- more extensive comparison of humpback whale song recorded off the coasts of Oman and India as well as other Indian Ocean regions.
Three modest funding proposals were submitted to the IWC SC with an aim toward achieving some of these recommendations. The outcome of these proposals will be known after the IWC Commissioners’ meeting takes place in Brazil in September. The IWC SC report is still undergoing final editing and revisions. We will disseminate the report as soon as it is publicly available. In the meantime, here are the links to the papers presented by ASWN members at the meeting:
- SC_67B_CMP_10_rev1_Arabian Sea Whale Network update
- SC_67B_CMP_13_rev1_Update on satellite telemetry studies and first unoccupied
aerial vehicle assisted health assessment studies of Arabian
Sea humpback whales off the coast of Oman.
- SC_67B_CMP_15_Baleen whale reports from the Eastern Arabian Sea based on interview surveys and stranding reports – Update from India 2017-18
- SC_67B_CMP_19_Geographic variation in song indicates both isolation of Arabian Sea humpback whales and presence of Southern Hemisphere whales off
- SC_67B_SH_24_rev1_A new baleen whale song type described for the Western Indian Ocean off Oman and northwest Madagascar
- SC_67B_PH_03_Flukebook for the Arabian Sea Whale Network
- Pakistan: Using a Crew-Based Observer Programme as a Platform of Opportunity for Understanding the Distribution of Whales in the Northern Arabian Sea
- SC_67B_INFO_06_CMS Concerted Action Proposal for Arabian Sea humpback whales
- SC_67B_INFO_07_ASWN workshop report_Managing data for whale conservation
- SC_67B_INFO_50_Humpback whale singing activity off the Goan coast in the Eastern Arabian Sea