Annual Report of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership (IWC-SORP) 2019/20
Elanor M. Bell (Compiler)
International Whaling Commission
The Southern Ocean Research Partnership (IWC-SORP) was established in 2009 with the aim of developing a multi-lateral, non-lethal scientific research programme that would improve the coordinated and cooperative delivery of science to the IWC. There are now 13 member countries in the Partnership: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and the United States. This paper reports on the continued progress of IWC-SORP and its six Commission endorsed research themes1 since the Scientific Committee meeting in 2019. This progress includes the production of at least 21 peer-reviewed scientific papers in 2019/20, bringing the total number of peer-reviewed publications related to IWC-SORP produced since the start of the initiative to ca. 168. Moreover, 141 IWC-SORP related papers have been submitted to the Scientific Committee, 8 of them this year. Fieldtrips to the western Antarctic Peninsula, the Weddell Sea, the Scotia Arc and sub-Antarctic Marion Island, have taken place in the past year. Thousands of images for photo-identification have been collected, satellite tags have been deployed on killer whales, Antarctic minke whales and humpback whales. As well as video suction cup tags on Antarctic minke and humpback whales. Biopsy samples have been collected from killer whales, humpback, fin and Antarctic minke whales; and hundreds of hours of cetacean acoustic recordings have been made and analysed. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to a number of IWC-SORP projects in 2020 through the closure of laboratories, cancellation of voyages and disruption of fieldwork.