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IWC and SPREP - the benefits of collaboration


The benefits of collaboration were reinforced recently when the IWC attended the 25th Annual Meeting of SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Region Environment Programme) in Marjuro, Marshall Islands.   A number of organisations share IWC conservation and management objectives. Partnering arrangements that pool research, expertise or resources can greatly increase the impact of work, particularly when operating at a regional, or international level.   

The IWC held an event during the SPREP Meeting, explaining the regional relevance of the recent IWC Scientific Committee work to complete its comprehensive assessment of South Pacific humpback whales. Conservation and management initiatives were also on the agenda.  The IWC programme to build a global entanglement response network has recently reached the South Pacific, with a training workshop held in Tonga in July.  Participants from Tonga and Vanuatu were taught to respond safely and effectively to entangled whales, and the customised response kit was left in Tonga to ensure future responders were both trained and equipped to handle future entanglements.  Funds were later secured for a second kit which was handed over to Vanuatu during the Marjuro meeting.

Looking ahead, the IWC will be pleased to assist SPREP and the region with their upcoming "Year of the whale" in 2016.  SPREP members expressed interest in pursuing a range of initiatives including further investigations into whale migration routes, the responsible management of whale-watching and the possible impacts of climate change. Other suggestions raised by members included further training in managing whale strandings and entanglement, investigating and mitigating possible impacts of seismic surveys and deep sea mining on whales and establishing protected areas for whales.

Click here to go to the SPREP website and find out more about SPREP and their 25th Annual Meeting.

Click here to find out more about the recent entanglement response training in Tonga.