This project contributes to the implementation of the Dutch policy towards the conservation of small cetaceans in the Agreement area, and particularly its obligations in our own waters, incl. the Dutch EEZ.

An active role in the AC enables to present the Dutch authorities’ views on protection and conservation management of small cetaceans to international fora and contribute to the success of ASCOBANS achieving its goals. IMARES, i.c. dr. M Scheidat is on request of LNV-Directorate Nature, member of the AC and scientific advisor to the Dutch delegation at the MOP. In addition, ad hoc advice on request is provided to the Directorate Nature of LNV.

The intended Dutch (inter)national policy towards protection and conservation management of small cetaceans is implemented through this project, and through feedback of the results obtained in the AC and MOP, the decision taking by the Dutch authorities about that policy will be fostered and if necessary adjusted.


The status of small cetaceans in the North and Baltic Sea is of concern. Particularly harbour porpoise (sub)populations are strongly reduced compared to decennia ago. There are indications (strandings and ad hoc sightings) that this also holds for other species. In order to prevent further depletion and promote recovery, a number of countries, incl. the Netherlands, have concluded the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS) under the Bonn Convention.

To implement the Agreement and thereby the objectives of ASCOBANS, the member states have agreed on a Conservation and Management Plan and subsequently a Working Plan. This Workplan is evaluated every three years during the Meeting of Parties (MOP) and a new one formulated. The draft Working Plan is produced by the Advisory Committee (AC) to ASCOBANS, in which the Netherlands is bound to deliver input.


The following reports will be produced:

  • Annual report on the meeting(s) of the Advisory Committee and if applicable the Meeting of parties
  • Interim reports on the ASCOBANS project “North Sea Harbour Porpoise Conservation Plan”