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 In addition to the Annual Meetings, the Scientific Committee from time to time holds meetings or organises symposia and workshops on special topics (e.g. age determination, reproduction, photo-identification and genetics). The reports and peer-reviewed papers of many of these were published in our commended Special Issue Series (ISSN-0255-2760)

These special issues are now all freely available online. A limited number of hard copies are available for the cost of postage and packaging. If you are interested in ordering, click here

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 Click below to find out additional information on each issue





SI1.jpg Special issue 1: Sei and Bryde's Whales.
1977 i-v + 150pp. ISBN 0 906975 03 4
This volume is concerned with two morphologically similar balaenopterid species, the sei (Balaenoptera borealis) and Bryde's (B. edeni). The 20 papers consider a number of topics ranging from biological parameters to stock identity and feeding studies. It contains the first paper to identify inshore and offshore forms of a balaenopterid species.



Special issue 2: Sperm Whales. SI2.jpg
1980 i-iv + 275pp. ISBN 0 906975 01 8 - OUT OF STOCK
In the late 1970s, the management of sperm whale catches in the Southern Hemisphere and North Pacific was a major scientific issue. This volume documents the approach adopted by the Scientific Committee at that time. The 41 authored papers cover a variety of subjects including: stock identity; pregnancy and mortality rates; population models; whaling statistics and strategies.



SI3.jpg Special issue 3: Age Determination of Toothed Whales and Sirenians.
1980 viii + 229PP. ISBN 0 906975 05 0 - OUT OF STOCK
Age determination is a tool central to the development of life history parameters. This essential reference volume examines the practical problems in age determination of toothed whales and Sirenians and reviews current and new techniques of specimen preparation and reading. In addition to an extensive report agreed to by over 50 experts from around the world, the 16 papers included cover theoretical, histological and practical aspects of this topic, including case studies for a number of species. Over 20 years after its appearance it remains the leading volume on this subject and has been  reprinted twice.



Special issue 4: Aboriginal/Subsistence Whaling. SI4.jpg
1982 i-v + 86 PP. ISBN 0 906975 09 3
This volume contains the reports of three panels of experts called in by the IWC to examine three aspects of aboriginal subsistence whaling:
  • Wildlife;
  • Nutrition;
  • Cultural Anthropology;

Although largely called in response to the Alaskan bowhead whale fishery the volume also contains valuable information on the Greenlandic fisheries.



SI5.jpg Special issue 5: Special Issue on Historical Whaling Records.
1983 i-v + 490PP. ISBN 0 906975 11 5 - OUT OF STOCK

This volume represents the fruits of a fascinating combination of biological and historical research. There is a rich treasure of biological information residing in the thousands of whaling logbooks and journals and other historical documents dating back as far as the 16th century. Thus aside from there clear historical interest, these records can make, and and indeed have already made, a positive contribution to the present day conservation and management of whales. The seventeen papers in the volume show just how valuable and productive such studies can be.


`A unique contribution' CAN. J. FISH AQUAT. SCI.
`This well-produced volume is therefore a valuable reference and an important addition to [earlier] work' POLAR RECORD.



Special issue 6: Reproduction of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. SI6.jpg
1984 I-XII + 490PP. ISBN 0 906975 07 7 - OUT OF STOCK

This volume remains an essential part of any cetologist's library.

The 38 peer reviewed papers cover the following topics:

  • Reviews of cetacean reproduction;
  • Problems and new approaches in methodology;
  • Case studies of populations;
  • Density dependence;
  • Morphology, behaviour and physiology;
`Strongly recommended ..... anyone interested in cetacean population ecology, reproductive anatomy, and physiology and behaviour will benefit greatly from reading it' MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE



SI7.jpg Special issue 7: Bibliography of Whale Killing Techniques.
1986 i-v + 162PP.; ISBN 0 906975 14 X
This fascinating illustrated bibliography details almost 400 papers dealing with aspects of whale hunting techniques since man first began to hunt these magnificent marine mammals, ranging from the poisoning techniques used by natives of the Aleutian archipelago up until the mid-19th century, through the techniques used by the 'Yankee' whalers, to experiments with electricity and modern explosive grenades.

`A valuable resource of information.' BIOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS



Special issue 8: Behaviour of Whales in Relation to Management. SI8.jpg

1986 i-v + 282PP ISBN 0 906975 15 8 - OUT OF STOCK

The origins of this volume lay in the first workshop to bring together cetologists studying behaviour and those studying population dynamics and management - two disciplines that had sadly kept themselves rather too much apart. This served two important purposes:

  • it showed management scientists how current behavioural knowledge could assist them in their work;

  • it suggested new areas of behavioural research that would materially assist future management of whale stocks.

The papers are divided into four sections:

  1. a review of aspects of cetacean behaviour in the light of current behavioural thought on other mammalian species;
  2. methodological studies incl. acoustics and other benign methods;
  3. species specific studies, particularly bowhead and gray whales;
  4. a review of photographic mark-recapture methods for estimating population size;

`A fine volume for the perusal of terrestrial mammalogists as well as our more aquatically oriented kin.' MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE



SI9.jpg Special issue 9: The Biology of the Genus Cephalorhynchus.

1988 i-ix + 344PP. ISBN 0 906975 17 4

The four species of the genus Cephalorhynchus are among the least known of the dolphins. This volume draws together current knowledge on the biology of these small, strikingly patterned dolphins:

  • Commerson's dolphin - Cephalorhynchus commersonii
  • Black dolphin - Cephalorhynchus eutropia
  • Heaviside's dolphin - Cephalorhynchus heavisidii
  • Hector's dolphin - Cephalorhynchus hectori

`A classic volume that should be included in every library....' AQUATIC MAMMALS



Special issue 10: Right Whales: Past and Present Status SI10.jpg

1986 i-viii + 289pp ISBN 0 906975 16 6 - OUT OF STOCK

Right whales were the first whales to be taken by a regular, organised whaling industry (the Basques in the 12th century), the first to be brought close to extinction by man's activities and the first to be protected by international agreement. The North Atlantic right whale is probably the most endangered species of large whale in the world today. However in contrast to its Northern Hemisphere counterparts, Southern Hemisphere right whales are now showing positive signs of recovery in several areas, notably Argentina, South Africa and Australia. The 24 papers in this volume cover many aspects of right whale biology and conservation. They are grouped under four headings:

  1. North Pacific Ocean
  2. North Atlantic Ocean
  3. Southern Hemisphere
  4. Historical Whaling

`This volume, like the rest of the... series, is a good buy for the cetologist' MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE




Special issue 11: The Comprehensive Assessment of Whale Stocks: the early years
1989 i-iv + 210PP. ISBN 0 906975 22 0

As a result of the decision to institute a `pause' in commercial whaling (also known as `the moratorium'), the IWC Scientific Committee has embarked on a `Comprehensive Assessment' of the world's whale stocks. This is intended to be an in-depth evaluation of the status of all whale stocks in the light of management objectives and procedures. It will include an examination of current stock size, population trends, carrying capacity and productivity. This volume documents the progress made in this task up to mid-1989.

It includes the reports of the original meeting held to plan the work and subsequent Workshops dealing with the development of management procedures and with the use of catch-per-unit-effort data. Following these reports, the volume is divided into two sections. The first includes three contract reviews carried out for the International Whaling Commission by experts in those fields of study. These thorough and well written reviews are invaluable to all cetologists wishing to keep abreast of recent advances in these fields. The final section details the progress made by five groups of research workers from different countries in the search for a management procedure which does not require more detailed information about stocks than we are likely to be able to discover. This represents some of the most interesting recent work in the area of wildlife management.

`papers of consistent, very high quality .. a commendable example.. I hope many will buy it' REVIEWS IN FISH BIOLOGY AND FISHERIES



Special issue 12: Individual Recognition of Cetaceans: Use of Photo-Identification and Other Techniques to Estimation Population Parameters. SI12.jpg

1990 i-v + 440PP. ISBN 0 906975 23 9 - OUT OF STOCK

In recent years several exciting non-lethal techniques have been developed which enable information required for management to be obtained for at least some species and populations. In recognition of this, the IWC sponsored a Symposium (attended by some 200 people) and Workshop in La Jolla, California. Emphasis was given to those techniques using individual identification of whales (primarily by photo-identification) to estimate population parameters. A major goal of the Workshop, attended by 37 scientists from five continents, was to provide a forum for exchange of expertise between researchers who are primarily field workers and those who are primarily analysts.
Simply by bringing them together, the Workshop can be judged a resounding success. It addressed questions of the development of common terms of reference for coding and matching of photographs, comparison of various field techniques and equipment and the evaluation of current and potential levels of precision of population parameters estimated from such data. The Workshop report is essential reading for all those involved in studies of cetaceans based on the recognition of individual animals. The volume also contains 49 peer reviewed papers on a wide range of topics, including:
  • theoretical application of such data to the estimation of abundance and life history parameters;
  • guides to handling large data bases of individual recognition data efficiently;
  • general reviews of the applicability of such techniques to groups of species, e.g. small cetaceans;
  • results from groups of animals that have already been the subject of many years of study;
  • early results from studies of species for which it has only relatively recently been realised that photo-identification techniques can be used;
  • feasibility studies on new species;
  • the use of genetic `fingerprinting' to identify individual animals;

'indispensable handbook and source of thought-provoking ideas....very valuable addition to the library of every marine mammal biologist' MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE




Special issue 13: Genetic Ecology of Whales and Dolphins.
1991 i-viii + 311pp ISBN 0 906975 25 5

This is in many ways a companion volume to special issue 12 on photo-identification and other individual recognition techniques. It addresses another major new technique being developed to address problems associated with cetaceans and their management..

In October 1989 in La Jolla, California, a Workshop took place that examined the applicability of molecular genetic techniques to studies of cetacean populations, and in particular to the definition of kin-groups, genetic populations and reproductive strategies. The report of this Workshop, published in this volume, is essential reading for those interested in applied population genetics.

In addition to the report section, there are twenty peer-reviewed scientific papers contributed by cetologists and geneticists. These cover subject matter from the collection of samples at sea and their preservation, through individual population studies, to the final section of the book which considers both the theory of interpretation and the applicability of the techniques for the management of cetacean populations. There has been a sense in some quarters that molecular genetic techniques may be a panacea for troubled behavioural ecologists and population biologists. While the reality falls short of this, as shown in this volume these techniques will facilitate substantial advancement when combined with non-genetic approaches.

`to be complimented on providing an informative group of studies... very interesting' HEREDITY



Special issue 14: Biology of Northern Hemisphere Pilot Whales. SI14.jpg

1993 i-x + 479PP. ISBN 0 906975 27 1

At its 1991 meeting, the IWC Scientific Committee, through its sub-committee on small cetaceans, undertook a major review of the status of stocks of small cetaceans that are subjected to significant directed and incidental takes. The review included takes of Globicephala macrorhynchus, the short-finned pilot whale, in Japanese waters and takes of G. melas, the long-finned pilot whale, in Faroese waters. While the Committee reported that `there is no detectable evidence that the stock size of pilot whales appearing in the Faroese area has been affected by the drive fishery', it has expressed concern since 1986 over the status of the stocks of short-finned pilot whales taken off Japan.

The first (and larger) section of this volume mainly concerns papers arising out of a field programme to examine catches of long-finned pilot whales taken in the Faroese fishery. Some thirteen papers discuss the analyses of the resultant data, including: external characteristics; age determination and growth; genetic studies and social organisation; reproductive biology; feeding and energetics; pollution; and parasitology.

The Faroese studies have provided some fascinating new information about the biology of the pilot whale, particularly in terms of its social organisation and reproductive biology. Other papers on North Atlantic pilot whales examine historical trends in catches, provide the first direct estimates of current population size and information on distribution and fishery interactions.

The final three papers in the volume concern the short-finned pilot whale in the North Pacific.c.

'exemplary results....a worthwhile addition to personal, as well as institutional libraries.' MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE



SI15.jpg Special issue 15: Gillnets and Cetaceans.

1994 i-ix + 629pp  ISBN 0 906975 28 X

This volume represents the most complete and current account of the world-wide problem that probably represents the most serious threat to cetaceans today. It represents the culmination of over four years work, beginning with the organisation of a Symposium and Workshop held in La Jolla in 1990. The volume includes the report of that Workshop, the IWC Scientific Committee's report on stocks of small cetaceans that are subjected to `significant' directed and incidental takes as submitted to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and a total of over 50 peer-reviewed papers presented to the Workshop, subsequent IWC Scientific Committee meetings or requested to address important relevant issues not covered by the presented papers.

The papers in the volume are organised into the following sections:

  • North Atlantic (incl. Baltic and Mediterranean);
  • Central America and Caribbean;
  • Western South Atlantic;
  • Africa and Indian Ocean;
  • Asia and North Pacific Pelagic;
  • Eastern North Pacific;
  • Southeastern Pacific;
  • Causes and Solutions;

'another terrific production from the IWC stable ….. a fascinating and extremely valuable compendium' MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE



Special issue 16: Biology of the Phocoenids SI16.jpg

1995 i-x + 552pp. ISBN 0 906975 29 8

This volume is dedicated to the family Phocoenidae. The Phocoenids are subject to harvest by coastal communities in many areas and are particularly vulnerable to incidental mortality in coastal fishing operations.

In addition, human activities impose indirect threats particularly to the coastal porpoises through the detrimental impact on their environment. This includes habitat degradation from pollution, disturbance by ship traffic and boats, noise, physical changes to the habitat and depletion of important prey species by overfishing.

Although the offshore porpoises may face less environmental threats, they have suffered large scale incidental mortality in fishing gear. The Dall's porpoise has recently been subject to directed fisheries and harvested at unsustainable levels in some areas.

The IWC Scientific Committee has reviewed the biology and status of the porpoises and monitored the threats to these small cetaceans. Recommendations for management and research are made as appropriate by the Committee and its sub-committee on small cetaceans and these are discussed in the introductory remarks for each of the species sections. Many of the papers published in this book have been prepared in response to these recommendations.

Inevitably, perhaps, the majority of papers concern the best studied of the Phocoenid populations, the harbour porpoises in the North Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific. Much of the impetus for these studies has come from the identification of potentially serious levels of incidental fishery mortality in developed nations in Europe and North America. There are papers covering a wide range of topics ranging from abundance estimation through to pollution and energetics.

One species which has attracted widespread interest and concern within the Scientific Committee in recent years is the vaquita. This species has the smallest range of any marine cetacean and numbering only a few hundred is seriously threatened with extinction. The papers in this volume review the limited available biological information and consider the problems of continuing incidental captures despite many attempts at giving complete protection.

The section on Dall's porpoises is relatively short as much of the work on this species has been carried out in connection with the Japanese salmon driftnet fishery. Much of the information on these porpoises has been published in the IWC Annual Reports, Special Issue 15 and in a series of papers published by the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission.

It is particularly edifying to be able to include a number of papers addressing the relatively little studied Burmeister's and spectacled porpoises. This reflects the major increase in studies in South American waters, particularly in response to concerns about their status as a result of both direct and indirect captures.

Sadly, despite evidence of direct and indirect captures around the world, there are no papers on the finless porpoise in this volume, reflecting the absence of research on this species in all but a few areas. A brief summary of the species is included.

The final section of the book includes the report of a workshop held on the age determination of harbour porpoises. Although not an IWC workshop, the report has been presented to the IWC Scientific Committee and it is included here as the results are of importance to studies of many aspects of Phocoenid biology.