RECALLING that at the Commission's 42nd, 43rd and 44th Annual Meetings, the Scientific Committee recommended as high priority that in the North Atlantic, by-catch mortality of harbour porpoise should be reduced, and further recommended that research be conducted to determine abundance, stock identity, by-catch levels, and pollutant levels;
RECOGNISING that considerable research has been initiated by member and non-member countries to address some of these needs, including in different regions, abundance, distribution, ecological requirements, vital rates, movements, stock identity, and by-catch mortality levels;
RECOGNISING that these studies need to be continued and additional research undertaken to provide a sound basis for understanding the status of the stocks of harbour porpoise throughout the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea in the face of continuing by-catch and other threats;
RECOGNISING the relevance of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS) for the protection of harbour porpoise;
The Commission RECOMMENDS:
(1) That Range States take action to meet the Scientific Committee's request for the collection and analysis of additional data on population distribution and abundance, stock identities, pollutant levels, and by-catch mortality level;
(2) That Range States give high priority to reducing by-catches of harbour porpoise;
(3) That Range States report to the 46th Annual Meeting of the Commission on their progress in implementing the above recommendations.
(4) That information about the harbour porpoise be exchanged with the Interim Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas.