Choose your language:

Technical meeting: western North Pacific minke whale

The Scientific Committee is taking the next steps to complete an In-depth Assessment of minke whales in the western North Pacific. The latest in a series of small, technical meetings will take place this week in Cambridge, UK.

The In-depth Assessment is considering three different hypotheses for the structure of the western North Pacific minke population which is broken down into sub-populations known as stocks:

•            two individual stocks, known as J and O.

•            three individual stocks, J, O and Y, with some overlap between Y and J

•            four individual stocks, J,O, Y and P, with some overlap between Y and J, and an additional P stock found only in coastal waters.

Understanding the structure of these stocks and any overlap between them is vital to understanding their status (whether the population is stable, increasing or declining) and the impact of human activities.

As previously, the latest meeting will use computer population models to answer these questions. Computer modelling is vital in cetacean science and conservation. For largely unseen and migratory animals like most whale species, it is extremely difficult to establish any definitive facts and figures. Computer models can factor in these uncertainties and test the widest possible variety of plausible scenarios and different theories regarding stock structure, their boundaries and movements across those boundaries.

The group is hoping to complete their work and report results at this year's Scientific Committee meeting in April/May.