Vrijdag 22 februari 2019

Jan Beiboer (Scheepsarts op de ‘Willem Barendsz.’)
Naoorlogse Nederlandse walvisvaart.

De eerste activiteit van de Zeezoogdierdagen vindt plaats in de bovenzaaal van de StayOkay en heeft als thema ‘walvisvaart’. De walvisvaart is een van de directe bedreigingen voor walvissen. Het is een zeer actueel onderwerp doordat Japan weer commercieel gaat walvis jagen, maar ook Nederland heeft een geschiedenis van walvisjacht. Jan Beiboer voer in 1956-57 mee als scheepsarts op de walvisvaarder ‘Willem Barendsz.’.
Zijn presentatie begint met een korte terugblik op 17e, 18e en 19e eeuwse walvisvaart. De ontwikkeling in de vangsttechnieken wordt geïllustreerd. Overzicht van de grote aantallen walvissen, die met primitieve middelen werden gevangen en hebben geleid tot een bijna uitroeiing van walvissoorten. Daarna een 1/2 uur film van de reis van de ‘Willem Barendsz.’ gevolgd door een pauze. Waarna we zijn eigen reis in 1956/57 aan de hand van een reeks foto’s ‘meemaken’.
Het is een bijzondere en bijna unieke kans om een ooggetuige van de Nederlandse walvisvaart te mogen ontvangen en aan het woord te laten.

Aanvullende informatie:
Wikipedia over het schip Willem Barendsz.
Veertig jaar na het einde van de walvisvaart

Zaterdag 23 februari 2019

Geert Aarts en Sophie BrasseurWageningen Marine Research / NIOZ. Opportunistic sound exposure experiments: Behavioural reactions of wild grey seals to pile-driving.

Kees Camphuysen (NIOZ)
Cetaceans as an integral part of marine ecosystems: towards a better understanding of distribution patterns and temporal trends within the North Sea basin.

Modern cetacean research is in a state of flux as a result of new techniques to count, monitor, track, or even dissect animals around the world. Research solely based on strandings data, or based on animals taken during commercial whaling activities is gradually moving to the background. Several whale populations are known or thought to be recovering from historical whaling operations. Recent trends in whale distribution suggest that some effects of global warming kick in leading to marked declines locally and associated increases elsewhere in different parts of the North Atlantic. Within the North Sea, we have currently better data on the species composition and overall abundance of cetaceans than ever before. One of the great remaining challenges, however, is to deepen our understanding of the species- or guild-specific habitat requirements of whales and dolphins, so that certain recent marked changes in spatial patterns can be explained. While most recent attempts to reveal key habitat characteristics are on a mono-species level (an analysis of abundance of a single species and distribution at best in relation to principal prey), it could be insightful to try and envisage cetaceans as a more integral part of marine ecosystems, with all sorts of expected species interactions, also with other components of the so-called ‘charismatic megafauna’, exploring the habitats and potential prey availability from multiple directions. This presentation will discuss possibilities.

Eleonora Panella  (IFAW, Brussels)
Whales and ship strikes. A case study in the Mediterranean.

IFAW works to reduce the risk of shipping to whales in known vesselwhale hotspots, while continuing to identify other high risk areas. Globally, both the number of ships and the speeds at which ships are able to travel have increased in the last few decades. This means a greater risk of ship strikes and injuries to whales, particularly where shipping activities overlap with important whale habitat.
For those whales that are not killed immediately, a collision can result in horrific and serious injuries. Collisions with large ships often go undetected or unreported; mariners are either unaware of hitting whales or do not report an incident. Consequently, the relative lack of reports of ship strikes is likely to significantly under-represent the threat posed by ship strikes. Certain whale populations are more vulnerable to ship strikes, particularly those found close to developed coastal areas or those whales found in high numbers in locations with a high volume of shipping traffic.

Research of IFAW on sperm whales in Strait of Gibraltar

In order to prevent ship strikes with sperm whales a voluntary speed limit was implemented in the Strait of Gibraltar in 2007. In 2018, IFAW looked at ship speeds to identify vessel types and ship operators sailing the Strait to assess how the limit has been communicated, in literature, on sea charts and in the relevant geographic area itself. Current cetacean numbers and the area and time of their activity in the Strait of Gibraltar were investigated as well.

Anja Reckendorf  (Tierärtzliche Hochschule, Hannover)
Marine debris and plastic pollution – an emerging threat to aquatic wildlife and human health

Plastics degrade slowly and macro pieces are usually grinded into smaller micro and nano particles. Plastic pollution poses a threat to the marine environment and its flora and fauna. Plastics and their chemical derivates enter the food chain mainly through ingestion by different animals and subsequent bioaccumulation. It was found that especially micro plastics are capable of adsorbing chemical pollutants and releasing them together with plastic additives inside organisms, which has been linked to developmental problems, immunosuppression and reproductive failure.

Records of 1622 harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) examined by the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research between 1990 and 2014 along the German coasts revealed 14 entanglements and 17 cases of debris ingestion. The detected objects comprised fishing-related debris (64.9%) as well as general debris (35.1%). Furthermore, large amounts of marine debris (250 fishing-related items and 72 pieces of general debris) were found in nine out of 22 sperm whales that stranded along the North Sea coast in early 2016. Both studies show the evidently high level of marine mammal exposure to marine debris and the imminent threat of associated health and welfare risks within the German North and Baltic Sea

Meike Scheidat  (Wageningen Marine Research)
Beschermingsbeleid voor zeezoogdieren en de Internationale Walviscommissie.

Nathalie Houtman (WWF-NL)
International Cetacean Conservation by WWF

The World Wide Fund for Nature has been working on cetacean conservation since it was founded 1961. Currently, cetaceans are one of WWF’s priority species, meaning that we treat them as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. Nowadays the international organization uses its experience and expertise to tackle three major threats to cetaceans: bycatch, shipping and habitat degradation. These global issues are complemented by local priorities identified by WWF offices in the field. Safeguarding the survival of cetaceans is a challenging task in an world that is increasingly dominated by us humans. Fortunately, WWF does not stand alone in the protection of cetaceans. The majority of WWF’s global conservation work on cetaceans takes place within the context of the International Whaling Commission, and we collaborate with many other organizations. Besides from collaboration, other strategies of WWF are: research, lobby work, public engagement and on the ground conservation efforts. So what exactly is it that WWF is doing for cetaceans? A number of examples are given by the means of addressing the three global issues (bycatch, shipping, habitat). The first examples related to bycatch focus on three species: Vaquita, Indus River Dolphin and North Atlantic Right whale. Secondly, explicit conservation efforts to reduce the impact of shipping on cetaceans are provided. Lastly, the Arctic is used as a case study to demonstrate WWF’s efforts to identify, create and manage critical habitat for cetaceans. The talk ends with a specific example of how you can contribute to cetacean conservation.

Fleur Visser  (NIOZ / Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Effecten van onderwatergeluid op walvisachtigen en hun prooi.

Aanvullende informatie: Volkskrant, 2014: Walvis krijgt stress van boten met toeristen en onderwaterlawaaiTrouw, 2018: Het niet meer zo verborgen leven van dolfijnen

Zaterdagavond 23 februari 2019

Andrew Sutton

Philip Hoare