The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission
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Welcome to North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission

Harp seals on the ice

NAMMCO - the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission - is an international body for cooperation on the conservation, management and study of marine mammals in the North Atlantic. The NAMMCO Agreement, was signed in Nuuk, Greenland on 9 April 1992 by Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and entered into force 90 days later on 8 July 1992. The agreement focuses on modern approaches to the study of the marine ecosystem as a whole, and to understanding better the role of marine mammals in this system.

NAMMCO provides a mechanism for cooperation on conservation and management for all species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and pinnipeds (seals and walruses) in the region, many of which have not before been covered by such an international agreement.

The main elements of the Commission are:

The Council, the decision-making body of the Commission, which meets on an annual basis to review advice requested from the Scientific Committee, to coordinate recommendations for further scientific research and to review hunting methods for marine mammals in member countries. The Rules of Procedure for the Council govern its functions.

The Management Committees, which make proposals for conservation and management and recommendations for scientific research with respect to stocks of marine mammals within their mandate. Currently there are two Management Committees. The Rules of Procedure for the Management Committees govern their functions.

The Scientific Committee, which provides scientific advice in response to requests from the Council, utilising to the extent possible existing scientific information. The Rules of Procedure for the Scientific Committee govern its functions.

The Committee on Hunting Methods, which provides advice on hunting methods for marine mammals upon request from the Council or individual member countries. The Rules of Procedure for the Committee on Hunting Methods govern its functions.

The Committee on Inspection and Observation, which provides advice on the Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme for the hunting of marine mammals and monitores the implementation of the Observer Scheme under the Joint NAMMCO Controle Scheme. The Rules of Procedure for the Committee on Inspection and Observation govern its functions.

The Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme for the Hunting of Marine Mammals is managed by the NAMMCO Secretariat and includes international observation of sealing and whaling activities in NAMMCO member countriesThe Secretariat is responsible for the implementation of the Observation Scheme and each year observers are contracted to observe hunting activitiesin the NAMMCO member countries. The Provisions of the Joint NAMMCO Controle Scheme for the Hunting of Marine Mammals govern the Scheme.

Through regional cooperation, the member countries of NAMMCO aim to strengthen and further develop effective conservation and management measures for marine mammals. Such measures should be based on the best available scientific evidence, and should take into account both the complexity and vulnerability of the marine ecosystem, and the rights and needs of coastal communities to make a sustainable living from what the sea can provide.

Marine Mammals

Distribution and Stock Definition
The minke whale is found throughout most of the North Atlantic, but is generally more common ...
Distribution and Stock Definition
The pilot whale is an oceanic species and occurs far offshore as well as in coastal areas (Bu...