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IWC entanglement response training for the crew
of the IWC POWER cruise - Shiogama, Japan 

The latest IWC entanglement response training has concluded successfully in the port of Shiogama, Japan.  This was a specially prepared training for the ship and scientific crew of the 2015 IWC-POWER cruise, which will be surveying for two months in the North Pacific Ocean.

The research will be conducted far offshore, between 20 and 30 degrees North.  Although most large whale entanglements are believed to occur in coastal areas where passive fishing gear is more prevalent, this area of the North Pacific is not risk-free.  Concentrations of marine debris,  pelagic longline fishing, using lines suspended parallel to the surface of water, and fish aggravating devices (FADs) which use anchored buoys to attract fish, can all cause entanglement. Migrating whales are also known to tow heavy fishing gear thousands of kilometres from the site of the entanglement, so the response training could be required on this or any future research cruise in the region.

David Mattila conducted the training and attendees included the Captain and crew of the sighting survey vessel, the Yushin Maru #3, and international researchers from Japan, U.K. and U.S.A.

The training was condensed into one day prior to the ship leaving port. The first half of the day was conducted in the classroom with an overview of the entanglement issue globally, and an introduction to the tools and techniques for the safe release of an entangled whale. The second half of the training moved outside to the shipyard and was devoted to practical familiarization with the tools. As the ship will be predominantly offshore, emphasis was placed on safety and data collection.

The training was supported by the scientists advising the IWC-POWER research programme, and was the first of its kind for a large ship crew surveying offshore waters.

For photographs of the Shiogama training, and other entanglement workshops, click here

For more information about the POWER cruise visit: https://iwc.int/power