Report of the Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME), 10–13 March 2014, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA: ICES CM 2014/ACOM:27

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

61 Downloads (Pure)


The Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME) met at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Quissett Campus, Massachusetts, USA from 10–13 March 2014 to consider the majority of the Terms of Reference. Eunice Pinn chaired the meeting of 30 participants, representing nine countries. A satellite meeting was held in Oban, Scotland, UK from 11 March to 13 March 2014 specifically to consider the Term of Reference on monitoring for renewable installations. This was chaired by Steven Benjamins and had a further six participants. During plenary, the two meetings were linked through video skype.
Eight ToRs were address, two of which were special requests from OSPAR. The first reviewed new information on population sizes and population/stock structure for marine mammals in European waters, whilst the second reviewed similar information as well as work on the incidental capture of marine mammals in the western North Atlantic (the latter specifically covering North Atlantic right whale, harbour porpoise and white-sided dolphin). The third ToR reviewed the further development of the Bycatch Limit Algorithm framework for determining safe bycatch limits and included a comparison with approaches used to assess bycatch in USA. The fourth ToR, to review the applicability of the Joint Cetacean Protocol (JCP) for European reporting requirements such as Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Habitats Directive, could not be fully addressed due to continuing delays in the publication of the JCP. The fifth ToR reviewed the development of database for seals and its potential contribution to the operationalization of MSFD indicators. The sixth ToR reviewed approaches to marine mammal survey design used during pre-consent data gathering and post-consent monitoring in the offshore marine renewables (wind, wave, tide) industry. The seventh and eighth ToRs addressed two special requests from OSPAR. The first on interactions between aquaculture and marine mammals, including the identification of the pressures and impacts which have sufficient documentation to necessitate the implement relevant monitoring, and to outline examples of effective management and mitigation solutions. The second special request was for the provision of technical and scientific advice on options for ways of setting targets for the OSPAR common MSFD indicators for marine mammals and to provide examples of the application of these options. The advice also considered target setting options, the consequences that these may have for the monitoring programme (in-cluding spatial and temporal implications) and also the precision necessary in target setting and monitoring.
Building on earlier requests from the European Commission and OSPAR on the de-velopment of indicators and targets for determining Good Environmental Status (GES) and work undertaken in 2012 and 2013, management units were further re-viewed and delineated for cetaceans and seals. Boundaries were specified so that the management units can be populated with abundance and bycatch estimates, where appropriate. As previously agreed, these boundaries coincide with ICES Area/Division boundaries and/or OSPAR boundaries where possible. Much of the current surveillance and monitoring of marine mammals in Europe will potentially contribute to MSFD monitoring programmes/indicator assessments. However, to be successful, monitoring programmes require clearly defined objectives, good design (based on power analysis) and well-articulated reference points/targets and indicators. In addition, there should be a well-defined mechanism to translate results into management actions to meet and policy objectives and a feedback mechanism to evaluate the success of the process. Targets need to be set in relation to reference levels and conservation objectives, while recognising the limits of statistical power to detect change based on logistically feasible monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReport of the Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME), 10–13 March 2014, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA
Subtitle of host publicationICES CM 2014/ACOM:27
Place of PublicationCopenhagen, Denmark
PublisherInternational Council for Exploration of the Sea
Number of pages234
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2014


  • marine mammals
  • cetaceans
  • seals
  • population structure
  • abundance
  • management unit
  • Bycatch
  • Joint Cetacean Protocol
  • reporting
  • survey design
  • Monitoring


Dive into the research topics of 'Report of the Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME), 10–13 March 2014, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA: ICES CM 2014/ACOM:27'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this