Choose your language:

               Extending the global whale entanglement response -               

IWC training for Baja California Peninsula, Mexico.

The latest IWC entanglement response network training has concluded successfully.  The two-day event was the most recent of several for Mexico, whose waters are the primary breeding ground for North Pacific humpback and gray whales, as well as permanent home for other species.  The training was sponsored by CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas) and coordinated by ECOBAC (Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas, AC) with additional support from the Center for Coastal Studies (USA). Attendees included representatives of local Fisheries and Environmental Agencies, Navy, Harbour Master along with local NGOs and boat operators nominated by CONANP. 

The first day of training, began in the classroom, and sessions covered local and global context, legal issues, tools, techniques and safety protocols.  Led by Ed Lyman, a member of the IWC expert group, and Coordinator for Entangled Whale Response in Hawaii , the group also discussed the ultimate goal of preventing entanglements from occurring in the first place.

On the second day, four small boats were deployed.  Two were used as a 'whales,' towing rope and debris to simulate entanglement, and the other two conducted the 'rescues,' putting the theories into practice. The rescue boats contained one instructor and two trainees at a time, and 20 participants were able to test out the techniques on the water.  The remainder observed from the 'whale' boats. 8 additional participants observed all the manoeuvers from two observer boats that played the role of the support vessels.

The trainer evaluated the 20 trainees in advanced techniques and most were deemed appropriate for significant roles in entanglement response teams.  Thanks to the CONANP funds, 5 custom advanced tool kits (cutting grapples and curved cutting knives) used during the training as well as 3 Go Pro cameras for documentation, and uniforms, were provided to newly trained teams.  The 5 advanced tool kits where distributed to teams from Los Cabos, Loreto, Vizcaino, Bahía de los Angles and La Paz & Gulf of California Islands, as that is where most whale watching is centred and where most entangled whales have previously been reported. 

This training has helped Mexico take another step forward in developing a national network of responders known as RABEN (Red de Asistencia a Ballenas Enmalladas). The next IWC entanglement response training will take place in Nuevo Vallarta, Bahía de Banderas, Mexico. 

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

For more information on Mexico´s Network visit www.rabenmexico.org