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ASCOBANS 7 Adopts Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoise, Agrees on Priorities for Research and Conservation

24 October 2012: At the seventh meeting of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS), eight countries agreed on a number of measures to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises in European waters, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) has announced. ASCOBANS 7 took place from 22-24 October 2012, in Brighton, UK.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of ASCOBANS, said ASCOBANS must continue to play a key role in coordinating efforts toward better protection with the support of all countries and stakeholders in the region.

In addition to representatives of Belgium, Denmark, the EU, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, the meeting also was attended by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the OSPAR Commission, the sister Agreement in the Mediterranean (ACCOBAMS) and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), as well as relevant NGOs.

Among the meeting's highlights was the adoption by the Parties of a new Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise Population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat, which aims to intensify research and conservation efforts in this area shared by Denmark, Germany and Sweden. Parties also agreed on priorities for research and conservation actions in the western part of the ASCOBANS area, which comprises the Irish Sea and the European North Atlantic and where many whale and dolphin species, as well as the harbour porpoise, are found. They also identified priority research areas in order to improve the understanding of how lesser-studied contaminants or those of particular concern affect individuals and populations, stressing the need to limit the introduction of chemical substances into the marine environment. [ASCOBANS Press Release]