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Eastern South Pacific population of southern right whales

The eastern South Pacific population of southern right whales is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature,  and is estimated to number less than 50 mature individuals. The population has not shown the repopulation rates observed in other southern right whale populations in the southwest Atlantic, Australia, or South Africa.

The Eastern South Pacific Southern Right Whale CMP was endorsed by the Commission in 2012. Chile and Peru are signatories to the CMP. Chile was appointed Co-ordinator for the CMP in 2017.

The overall aim of the CMP is to guide and encourage the recovery of the population to a level that will allow it to withstand both environmental and anthropogenic impacts, and ensure its long-term survival.

Progress to date

Progress to date includes the appointment of a Co-ordinator and Steering Committee, and the implementation of actions to reduce bycatch, and research on population structure and acoustics.

In November 2018, the first multi-national Combined Capacity Building on Cetacean Strandings and Entanglement Response Training under the CMP was successfully conducted in Lima, Peru. The training was attended by nearly 60 representatives from government, universities, and NGOs from Chile and Peru.

Also in November 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Chile and Peru’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs, to coordinate co-operation on the conservation of the population.

Priority work areas

Priority actions for the CMP during the 2018-20 intersessional period include:

  • Holding coordination meetings.
  • Increasing sighting efforts on possible reproductive areas, including implementing a passive acoustic monitoring program.
  • Increasing efforts to collect photo-identifications and genetic data.
  • Strengthening capacities on entanglement and stranding response in both Chile and Peru.
  • Increasing capacities to identify cetacean species, with particular emphasis on southern right whales along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
  • Providing advice on whale watching regulations for the population.
  • Developing a strategy to raise public awareness of the population.

 

You can read the revised 2016 Conservation Management Plan here.

You can read more about entanglement training here.