A Focus on the Baltic Harbour Porpoise

Earlier in December 2014, the keenly awaited results of the SAMBAH Project (Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise) were released – with some surprises! A much more reliable population estimate for the Baltic population than was ever available before was released: around 450 animals are still found in the Baltic Proper. Also, the data shows a previously unknown breeding area. More information can be found here.

The entries to a creativity competition focusing on the Baltic harbour porpoise, which ASCOBANS had run in partnership with NGOs Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), NABU and OceanCare on the occasion of the International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise 2013, will be shown in an exhibition in the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund, Germany, from 15 January to 19 April. All are cordially invited to visit the exhibition. On 15 January at 11am is the official opening. More information can be found here.

The 11th Meeting of the Jastarnia Group is foreseen to take place in the week of 9 March 2015. Dates and venue will be confirmed shortly. Information relating to the meeting will become available here.


The 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP11) was held in Quito, Ecuador, from 4-9 November 2014. After a week of intense deliberations and negotiations, the Parties to CMS passed a large number of resolutions, taking bold steps forward for the conservation of marine, terrestrial and avian migratory species.
Several resolutions focusing on institutional and strategic matters were adopted, along with others addressing cross-cutting conservation issues which include matters very relevant for cetacean conservation globally. Two resolutions focus specifically on cetaceans:

Live Captures of Cetaceans from the Wild for Commercial Purposes

Capture of small cetaceans for public display in commercial aquaria and travelling shows continues in a number of countries. This resolution calls on Parties to develop and implement national legislation prohibiting the live capture of cetaceans from the wild for commercial purposes, and to review their regulations regarding import and international transit of live cetaceans, bearing in mind the aim to actively discourage new live captures from the wild for commercial purposes globally.

Conservation Implications of Cetacean Culture

Through this resolution, Parties recognize that a number of socially complex mammalian species, such as several species of cetaceans, great apes and elephants, show evidence of having non-human culture and that this has implications for the efforts to conserve them.
Parties are urged to consider culturally transmitted behaviours when determining conservation measures for such species, and to apply a precautionary approach to the management of populations for which there is evidence that culture and social complexity may be a conservation issue.
All COP11 documents can be accessed here.