UK dolphin and porpoise conservation strategy: high level strategy

High level strategy for the proposed UK Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy summarising the existing management measures and proposals for future action to be taken to deliver the seven objectives identified in the strategy currently being consulted on.

Section 4 – Actions

The Technical Report

39. The Technical report provides detail of the vulnerability and confidence assessments that have been undertaken. These provide the basis for determining whether new or improved action is required.

40. The assessments consider how vulnerable the species are to pressures and considers existing management measures in place. From this potential issues for each species can be identified and be taken into account when determining what actions should be taken forward.

Required actions

41. This section identifies the actions considered necessary to:

  • maintain or/and improve the conservation status of dolphins, porpoises and minke whales (management actions)
  • help improve our understanding of the species, the issues that affect them and awareness raising (research, monitoring and communication actions).

42. The results of the technical report's existing management analysis identify where further action is necessary. These have been condensed into actions covering all of the species which should enable better delivery of management, research, monitoring and communication.

43. Tables 3 and 4 list these actions, summarises the rationale for inclusion, and on implementation will identify the lead organisation responsible for taking forward the action. The scores referenced in the 'Rationale' column of Table 3 are detailed in the technical report. The Action Plan document has been developed to provide a more detailed description of the problem and the proposed steps to resolve it. Each action is displayed in an Action Sheet, which is based on the model used within OSPAR.

Table 3: Description of required management actions

Management Actions

Rationale Project coordinator

− Consolidate and improve knowledge on sources, pathways and impacts of pollutants, plastics and biotoxins on cetaceans to develop and implement better management.

The scores for activities within this action indicated varying levels of research and consideration of new management measures were required for all species. Government and SNCBs

− Continue to develop and implement a UK bycatch mitigation initiative.

There is a need for more research on bycatch and in some instances, consideration of additional measures for species assigned a medium vulnerability to this pressure. Government

− Improve understanding of entanglements and work towards developing strategies to reduce this threat.

There is a need for more research on entanglement and in some instances, consideration of additional measures for species assigned a medium vulnerability. Government

− Consolidate and improve our understanding of noise impacts on cetaceans to better inform management and conservation.

− Develop an operational framework to manage the cumulative impact of acoustic disturbance in the context of environmental assessments.

− Understand the pressures of increasing underwater anthropogenic noise and potential impact on cetacean populations.

− Future trends in underwater noise: Consolidate and improve knowledge of increasing sources of underwater noise.

Acoustic disturbance may result from numerous activities, from piling, to vessel noise and use of pingers. This action has been developed into three sections. The scores across the species indicate that further research is required, in some instances where there is no evidence of impact, but there is overlap of the species and pressure. Government and SNCBs

− Establish approaches to managing wildlife tourism.

Recreational and wildlife tourism has been highlighted for four species (common dolphin, coastal bottlenose dolphin, killer whale and minke whale) as requiring further research and to consider management measures. SNCBs

− Improve knowledge of the physical condition of supporting habitats and prey availability to inform management and conservation.

Reduction in prey availability requires further research for all nine species and some consideration for management measures for medium vulnerability. SNCBs

Table 4: Description of required research, monitoring and communication actions


Rationale Project coordinator

− Develop a framework to prioritise research requirements.

Given the research requirements stated above, developing a prioritisation framework will allow the division of work and dedication of resources to undertaken required projects. Additional tailored projects (e.g. to investigate mortality from ship strike) may be required. SNCBs

− Develop and implement an effective monitoring programme to provide a more robust understanding of the conservation status of UK cetaceans.

Working in parallel to the prioritisation framework, a monitoring programme can continue to be developed that will support the management actions Government and SNCBs

− Develop and implement communications with stakeholders to support conservation actions.

To keep stakeholders up to date, but also to enable data sharing with the working groups to assist in progressing the actions. Government



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