CWSS meets ASCOBANS

From June 19-22, 2017, CWSS hosted the meetings of the Baltic Sea, Belt Sea and North Sea advisory groups of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS). Like the Wadden Sea Seals Agreement (WSSA), for which CWSS acts as the Secretariat, ASCOBANS was concluded under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS, also known as the Bonn Convetnion). ASCOBANS aims to promote close cooperation between its ten Parties as well as non-Party range States with a view to achieving and maintaining a favourable conservation status for small cetaceans throughout the Agreement Area. The North Sea Group and the Baltic Sea and Belt Sea Group (also known as the Jastarnia Group) are the expert advisory bodies for the Agreement’s Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises in the North Sea, the Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises (Jastarnia Plan) and the Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise Population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat. The Groups gather annually, but usually at different times and in different locations. This year, at the invitation of CWSS, they met back-to-back at the CWSS premises in Wilhelmshaven, Germany and held a joint session on June 20. Rüdiger Strempel, Executive Secretary of CWSS and long-standing chair of the Jastarnia Group, chaired the Group for the last time this year. “As a member of the CMS family CWSS was very pleased to host the meetings of these important bodies of one of the “sister agreements” of the WSSA,” notes Strempel. “This also gave us a welcome opportunity to explore areas of common interest between the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation and ASCOBANS and discuss possible future areas of cooperation.”

www.ascobans.org