Marine Mammals of the Holarctic

Humpback whale. Photo: Alexander Burdin and Olga Filatova
Humpback whale. Photo: Alexander Burdin and Olga Filatova

On September 22-27 in St. Petersburg the 8th International Conference «Marine Mammals of the Holarctic» is taking place. Among organizers and active participants of the event are the experts of  Marine Mammals Council.

The conference is organized with the support of the Government of St. Petersburg, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, the Russian Academy of Sciences – P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Interdepartmental Ichthyological Commission and the International Society for the Study of marine mammals.

International Conference “Marine Mammals of the Holarctic” is held once in two years. At the conference scientists share their experience on the results and methods of the latest zoological research.

The conference was attended by over 200 participants from 16 countries – Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, USA and New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Nigeria and Congo.

«The experts discuss the results and prospects of scientific research, conservation and use of marine mammals in the Northern Hemisphere. Traditionally the participants focus on population biology, assessment of abundance and monitoring, behavior and acoustics, physiology, health, rehabilitation of animals and keeping them in captivity. Also, the conference will address environmental issues (supply, distribution, habitat and migration, and others). – Said the spokesman of the Marine Mammal Council Natalia Remennikova.

The choice of the city to host the conference was not accidental: the year of 2014 had been declared the Year of the Gulf of Finland. The conference will address issues related to the environmental problems of the Baltic Sea, including the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga. A photo exhibition will be organized and videos will be shown. Also the results of the All-Russian contest of children’s drawings of marine animals will be announced.

In the framework of the conference the 9th Meeting of the Expert Advisory Group is being held. The group focuses on the conservation and study of the Atlantic walrus of the Barents Sea southeastern part and adjacent waters. The agenda also includes the «Experience of oil and gas companies to monitor and mitigate the impact on marine mammals” discussion, round tables addressing such issues as “Problems catching cetaceans in Russia “,” The gray whale».

Also the results of the thematic nationwide drawing competition for children will be summed up, exhibitions of the author’s photographs of Marine Mammals Council will be held. A showing of a unique video footage and a feature-length documentary Blackfish are scheduled.