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Expanding entanglement response capability for
endangered Southern right whales in the western South Atlantic.

An IWC entanglement response training workshop has successfully completed  in Puerto Madryn, Argentina.  The training was  one of the actions under a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for this endangered population.

CMPs are an important IWC conservation initiative, providing a framework for countries within the range of vulnerable cetacean populations (known as range states) to work together, and in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, to protect and rebuild those populations.  The CMP for Southern right whales in the western South Atlantic was agreed in 2012 between the range states Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, and entanglement response training is one of the key actions of the CMP.

The  Puerto Madryn workshop provided an opportunity for the local team, originally trained in 2012, to refresh their skills.  Perhaps more importantly, for the first time, trainees came together from other parts of Argentina, as well as Uruguay and the primary entanglement response trainer in Brazil, Leandro Cortese Aranha, assisted as a co-trainer. This  workshop therefore presented the first opportunity for the range states to co-ordinate entanglement response for this population.

50 participants attended the first day of classroom training.  They represented the National and Provincial governing authorities, as well as National Parks, Prefectura Naval Argentina (Coast Guard), Scientific Institutions, non-governmental organisations and whale watching companies.  16 trainees were then selected from that group for the second day of training on the water, using vessels supplied by the Prefectura and the whale watching companies.

The training went very well.  Several southern right whales, sea lions and penguins swam around the training boats, showing exactly why this area is so important to the future of the population, and why it has been a focal point for training so far.

In addition to IWC funds, the workshop was generously supported either financially, logistically and/or in-kind by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, the Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development, Cetacean Society International (CSI), Prefectura Naval Argentina, the Dirección de Fauna of the Chubut Province, the Centro Nacional Patagónico (CENPAT), Fundación Cethus and the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS).

To read more about the CMP for southern right whales click here.

Click  here for general information about CMPs .

For more information about entanglement and the IWC’s response programme click here.

Click here for drone video footage of the training, courtesy of Martin Canale, Chaltern Travel.