Consideration of data collection related to marine debris and cetaceans
Nini Pierantonio and Mark Simmonds
International Whaling Commission
This paper considers what data might be usefully collected to help better understand the interactions between cetaceans and marine debris and was originally drafted at the request of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS). Recommendations include that (i) Post-mortem examinations should be conducted using a classical differential diagnostic approach when possible and, when not, efforts to document the presence of marine debris, both ingested and entangled, should still be put into place; and (ii) debris should be characterised by material, size, colour, shape, mass and volume and, where possible, identified to source. A standard list of litter items is provided.