European Cetacean Society Conference

Each year, a delegation from BDMLR attends the prestigious event that is the annual conference of the European Cetacean Society. It is a place where hundreds of scientists and conservationists across pretty much every discipline you can think of come together to share the very latest research, knowledge and opportunities for collaboration. It is one of the key places where we can find or present the latest science and techniques to inform our protocols and keep us at the forefront of marine mammal rescue practices globally.

This year’s conference was held in Catania, Italy, on the theme of ‘marine mammals and human activities’, where our delegation had the chance to participate in a choice of 17 workshops held over the first two days. The sessions attended included:

  • The protection of lesser-known species in the North East Atlantic (hosted by ASCOBANS – Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas)
  • Using pathology to better inform welfare impacts of bycatch and entanglements (hosted by the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme)
  • If highly protected areas benefit highly mobile species (hosted by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee)
  • Recreational activities and their impact on marine mammals (hosted by ASCOBANS)
  • New technologies in health assessment of marine mammals (hosted by the University of Padua)

Then for the following three days there was a full programme of 81 oral presentations and 309 poster presentations to be immersed in covering topics such as welfare science, biology and ecology, strandings, pathology, conservation, acoustics… lots more than we can list here but really an impressive breadth and depth of innovative marine mammal science! We were also able to provide our own offerings with members of our team as co-authors on two posters that you can view here: one on assessing welfare challenges of climate change on marine mammals with our OceanCare colleagues; and the second on a significant pathology finding from a live stranded minke whale, headed by CSIP.

We also led one presentation, a film that was shown during the movie night event mid-way through the conference on the unique capture technique used on a habituated adult female grey seal entangled in a frisbee ring led by BDMLR in conjunction with the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and Seal Research Trust. You can see the original video clip of this rescue on our Youtube channel here, but we plan to make the full film available there in the near future as well.