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Workshop to progress Strike Limit Algorithms (SLAs)
for Greenland subsistence hunts.

The Scientific Committee's Aboriginal Whaling Management Procedure group (AWMP) will meet in February to progress SLAs for West Greenland's bowhead, common minke and fin whale hunts. SLAs are used to calculate safe limits for subsistence hunts.

Various potential SLAs are being developed. To ensure that they are robust to inevitable scientific uncertainty, computer simulations are used. These enable rigorous hypothetical testing of whale strike limits against a wide range of scenarios, consistent with all information known about the whale stock(s), for example abundance estimates and genetic data. Each type of test is known as a 'trial' and examines the effect of applying the SLA over a 100 year period into the future. A full set of trials comprises a 'trial structure.' 'The level of uncertainty that must be addressed depends on the amount of information available. The performance of each candidate SLA is reviewed against conservation and subsistence objectives agreed by the Commission. Conservation objectives are the highest priority. Only if a candidate SLA meets these will the Scientific Committee recommend it to the Commission. Once conservation objectives are satisfied, SLAs are prioritised according to how best they meet the needs of the subsistence community.

Developing acceptable SLAs is an iterative process and can take several years. The aim is to complete all West Greenland SLAs before the next Commission review of aboriginal whale catch quotas in 2018. Reviews of existing SLAs occur every five years.

The Scientific Committee has completed work on an SLA for West Greenland humpback whales. This was accepted by the Commission at IWC65 last September. Significant progress has also been made on an SLA for the bowhead hunt. The February workshop will review progress and establish a work plan to ensure a final bowhead SLA is ready to be presented at this year's Scientific Committee meeting in May/June.

The February workshop will also continue developing SLA testing frameworks for West Greenland's common minke and fin whale hunts, based upon those already developed for the entire North Atlantic under the Revised Management Procedure (RMP) process (see below). The workshop will tailor these to aboriginal whaling so that the framework is ready for developing, testing and reviewing initial candidate SLAs.

For more information on Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling click here.