Bonn, 30 June 2010 - The 16th Scientific Council meeting established guidelines for pragmatic and practical solutions to relevant issues of the conservation of migratory species.
In the presence of over 60 delegates from all the regions
of the world, the Chairman of the Scientific Council,
John H. Mshelbwala, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone
and expressed his gratitude for their continued contribution
to the CMS family. He specifically welcomed new members
of the "family", Ian Redmond, CMS's new ambassador
who had previously served as ambassador of last year's
Year of the Gorilla campaign. Mshelbwala also welcomed
Elizabeth M. Mrema at her first meeting of the Scientific
Council as Executive Secretary.
During the International Year of Biodiversity
the scientific community is focusing on pinpointing what
research is needed, what animal populations are most threatened,
which of these species need listing in the CMS appendices,
along with many other concerns. A major topic of the meeting
was the review of strategy implementation for the Scientific
The Conference-appointed Councillor on fish and marine
specialist, Zeb Hogan, gave a presentation on freshwater
fish species, which brought to light the huge information
gap that exists on this species. Of 15,000 freshwater
fish species, only 3,000 have been assessed for the IUCN
Red Data Lists and just one is included on the CMS Appendix
I as Endangered.. There is therefore insufficient data
to categorise 80% of known freshwater fish species. Again,
scientific data are pivotal in making decisions within
the framework of CMS. Endangered fish species that are
not listed but that clearly migrate across international
borders are of major concern.
Barry Baker, the Conference-appointed Councillor on bycatch,
gave an account on the detrimental effects of bycatch
on seabirds, cetaceans and marine turtles, specifically
in tuna fisheries and briefly discussed useful mitigation
practices. For sea birds alone, bycatch results in about
200,000 deaths per year. Although many measures have been
taken, there is not one single solution to reduce seabird
Delegates discussed the conservation status of CMS Appendix I Species and agreed to continue producing fact sheets on the species listed on the appendix. In addition, proposals for amendments were made on adding fish species, the tiger and two beaked whales to Appendices I and II of the Convention.
Key points of the meeting also included threats to endangered
species such as climate change, habitat loss and artificial
barriers to migration. Response to emergency situations
for CMS species, the critical sites and ecological networks
for migratory species as well as global bird flyways and
conservation priorities were also on the agenda.
Representatives discussed the criteria for the listing of species in Appendix II and those necessary for the classification for considering a country to become a Range State. An extensive discussion on sustainable use affecting many species as diverse as cranes and marine turtles followed.
The EUROBATS Secretariat announced the Year of the Bat, sparking great interest from representatives of countries outside of Europe. This campaign would commence in Europe in 2011 and spread worldwide the following year.
Delegates broke into Taxonomic Working Groups addressing climate change, bycatch and wildlife diseases. These covered birds, fish, aquatic and terrestrial mammals and marine turtles and presented their reports to the plenary.
Before closing the Meeting, the Chair emphasized the contribution of the Secretariat to a productive inter-sessional gathering. It was proposed that the 17th meeting of the Scientific Council would be held immediately before the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in November 2011 in Norway.