This regional training workshop was carried out in Salinas, Ecuador, 27-28 June 2013. The entanglement of large whales in small scale gillnets has been identified as a major conservation issue in some countries of the Southeast Pacific, particularly in the cases of humpback and sperm whales. The workshop was conducted in the framework of the International Whaling Commission capacity building program for responding to large whale entanglement events, which is offered to its Member Countries.
The event was jointly organized by the IWC Secretariat, the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) and the Government of Ecuador as host country. The event was also supported by the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Conservation International-Ecuador (CI). IWC technical advisors David Mattila and Ed Lyman from NOAA were in charge of the 2-day training which included a day of practice at sea. Participants included government officers in charge of marine biodiversity management (fisheries and environment), researchers and marine mammal stranding responders from Ecuador (25) Chile (3), Colombia (3), Panama (3) and Peru (3). As part of the collaboration, IWC donated two tool kits to Ecuadorian environment authorities. It is expected that this type of training will foster networking and setting up of specialized response teams in the region. Additional information from the event can be obtained from IWC and CPPS (Spanish) web sites.
Submitted by Fernando Félix and David Mattila.