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The Strandings Initiative Expert Panel has concluded an intensive but successful 3-day workshop in Venice.

The multi-disciplinary panel includes marine biologists, veterinarians, pathologists and response operations managers. They are global leaders in their respective fields and the role of the panel is to oversee and advise the work of the IWC Strandings Initiative.

The workshop focused on implementation of a four year workplan, defining and allocating specific tasks to move forward in two priority areas: emergency response and capacity building.

The Expert Panel provides real-time support to teams responding to often fast-developing situations on coastlines all over the world. Discussions at the workshop included case studies in Tasmania, Turkey and Ukraine, using real examples to create a framework for future responses.

Capacity building is another fundamental component of the Strandings Initiative. Training in best practice when performing necropsies and gathering samples aims to standardise the different data collected at a stranding and make it easier and more effective to analyse and understand the reasons why the animal stranded. Collating this information builds a clearer picture of both stranding causes and threats to cetaceans.

The event was held at the Centro Culturale don Orione Artigianelli and the Panel expressed thanks to the University of Padova, who co-funded the workshop with the IWC.