Symposium on Monitoring Strategies for Marine Mammal Populations,
La Rochelle, France, November 21-23, 2008
Hosted by the University of La Rochelle (LIENSs / CRMM)
Marine mammals are important actors in marine ecosystems. Their position of top predators confers them a general value of indicators of marine ecosystem conservation state and exposes them to several types of pressures related to human activities at sea, including accumulation of contaminants along food webs and interactions with fisheries. Other sources of pressures and threats, independent of their role of top predators, include inter alia disturbance, collisions with ships and acoustic pollution.
In most European countries, marine mammals are protected by national, EU and international texts, which clarify the responsibility of governments in monitoring and conservation of these populations (Marine Protected Areas, national regulation on protected species, Habitat Directive, Common Fishery Policy, regional agreements ASCOBANS and ACCOBAMS, …). However indicators proposed to estimate the status of marine mammal populations are only defined in very general terms, with mainly two criteria that are fairly easy to express but difficult to document: abundance and distribution. Other approaches are empirically used but their value as monitoring tools has not been really assessed; they notably include acoustic monitoring, stranding schemes, coastal watch and at-sea sightings from platforms of opportunity. As a consequence, to elaborate properly a strategy for monitoring the conservation status of marine mammal populations in Europe, it is necessary to compare available methods and estimate the performance of potential indicators, in terms of their capacity to detect changes in wild populations and of their cost-effectiveness.
The objectives of the meeting will thus encompass the following topics:
1. Expressing the societal demand in monitoring marine mammal populations
2. Converting the societal demand into measurable parameters
3. Existing practices of monitoring
4. Marine mammal population indicators and their performance
5. Examples of integrated monitoring strategies
Expected participants would include people in charge of public environmental policies, in particular as to the monitoring and conservation of marine mammal populations and habitats at national, EU and international levels, research groups in marine mammal biology and conservation and field correspondents or operators who collect and synthesize data relative to the state of conservation of marine mammal populations. It will thus be a unique opportunity to gather actors involved at all levels in monitoring marine mammal populations, from policy makers to data collectors.
Online abstract submission and online registration will be soon possible on the symposium website at:
For more information do not hesitate to contact us at:
The organizing committee :
The Ecology and Conservation of Marine Mammal research group of the University of La Rochelle (constituted of Centre de Recherche sur les Mammifères Marins CRMM and Littoral Environnement et Sociétés LIENSs, Joint Research Unit 6250 CNRS/ULR) will host an international symposium on strategies for monitoring marine mammal populations, from 21-23 November 2008 in La Rochelle, France.
The symposium is
hosted by: University of La Rochelle, France
sponsored by: French Agency of the Marine Protected Areas, French Ministry of Environment, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Regional Council of Poitou-Charentes
and supported by: ACCOBAMS, ASCOBANS
For the organizing committee,
Pr Vincent Ridoux, University of La Rochelle.