Thursday, 7 November 2013

Dateline Tangier 3

ACCOBAMS Meeting of Parties: day three.

Alongside other delegates, the bleary-eyed members of the noise working group assemble at 8am at the meeting hotel after a late-night debate over the noise resolutions.

The day opens with another presentation on noise, this time from the Oil and Gas Producers organisation focused on the propagation of noise and then we enter into a discussion on whale-watching with a contribution from the secretary of the Pelagos Sanctuary, Fanny Dubois.

The Humane Society International makes a cautious intervention on whale watching further to presentations on feasibility studies in Tunisia and Morocco. Their representative says:

HSI welcomes the studies and notes that, over the years that ACCOBAMS has worked on whale watching, the scientific evidence from around the world of a negative impact of whale watching has accrued. Hence, in those bodies where the technical development of whale watching is being discussed – such as the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Committee – we increasingly speak of ‘Responsible Whale Watching’, which is what the Whale Watching ‘label’ of ACCOBAMS is also trying to address. In practice, this means the careful balancing of the commercial and educational benefits of whale watching against an approach that ensures that the animals concerned are not negatively impacted. Further advice on how this may be achieved can be obtained from specialist bodies including Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the IWC’s long-standing whale watching subcommittee.

Meanwhile, draft resolutions are piling up on the desks of the delegates and the busy members of the secretariat are working the photo-copier hard.

The drafts cover population studies (and the urgent need to conduct them across the region); the implications of Rio +20 for ACCOBAMS and texts covering the rules of procedure for the various bodies of the agreement (including the heated potato of who sits in the Scientific Committee), the working of the supplementary conservation fund and so on.

As lunch approaches the noise resolutions have not yet managed to enter the meeting room. Will they make it…. ?

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