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Collaboration was back on the agenda with the signing of a renewed Memorandum of Understanding between the IWC and the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS).  This is a long-standing partnership, combining IWC global reach with CCS expertise as pioneers of safe and effective response to whale entanglement. The work began in 2011 with the appointment of a technical advisor, based at CCS, assembly of an Expert Panel and development of Entanglement Response Protocols and a training framework.  This framework has been used by the technical advisor to facilitate training for more than 1300 people from 36 countries and manage an apprenticeship programme to 'train the trainers.'  The MoU was signed by the Executive Secretary of the IWC, Dr Rebecca Lent at the meeting in Portoroz and Dr Sarah Oktay, Executive Director of the Center for Coastal Studies who joined the meeting from Provincetown, USA.

Today's plenary session endorsed wide-ranging proposals including on workshops for strandings and euthanasia of stranded whales, and a new Welfare Assessment Tool.  Quota renewals for Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling will be discussed at the next meeting in 2024 and the Commission noted that these will be renewed automatically unless there are changes to quotas or scientific advice. The Scientific Committee acknowledged the importance of combining the latest research methods with traditional knowledge acquired over centuries and explained processes and practices already in place to ensure this happens.  The Conservation Committee provided further detail on a range of programmes including the Bycatch Mitigation Initiative, Conservation Management Plans and the Ship Strikes Database.

Away from plenary, discussions continued on budgetary and governance reform proposals, a Schedule Amendment for a sanctuary in the South Atlantic, and Resolutions on Marine Plastic Pollution, Food Security and Implementation of a Conservation and Management Program for Whale Stocks. These proposals are scheduled to return to the plenary tomorrow