Seal Conference EcomareTexel, International Symposium at Ecomare 2002

Management of North Sea Harbour and Grey Seal Populations
Proceedings of the International Symposium at EcoMare, Texel, The Netherlands; November 29 - 30, 2002

In the framework of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation the conservation and management of the Wadden Sea harbour and grey seal populations are of high importance. With this publication the proceedings of the second International Symposium on Management of North Sea Seal Populations, which was organized by and took place at EcoMare on Texel, the Netherlands in November 2002, are presented.

Regarding seals, the year 2002 was a remarkable year; it was the first year of the new “Seal Management Plan 2002 - 2006”, which was adopted by Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands at the Trilateral Governmental Wadden Sea Conference in Esbjerg in Denmark in 2001. This Management Plan is based on the Seal Agreement, which was concluded between the three Wadden Sea states in 1991. The current Seal Management Plan was drafted on the basis of an evaluation and assessment of the status of the harbour and grey seal populations in the Wadden Sea compiled by seal experts and representatives of the competent seal management authorities of the four Wadden Sea region in 2001. The report of the Trilateral Seal Expert Group including the current Seal Management Plan was already published in Wadden Sea Ecosystem No. 15 in 2002.

Secondly, 2002 was marked by the mass mortality of seals in Northwest Europe, which was caused by the second outbreak of the phocine distemper disease among seals 14 years after the first epidemic of the same disease in 1988. According to this incident, several contributions of the present issue are dealing with the epizootics 2002 and 1988 and possible consequences for the populations. Management polices for the harbour and grey seal populations as well as the role of research, information, education and seal rehabilitation were also discussed by the participants of the first International Symposium on the Management of Seal Populations, which also took place at the Wadden Sea and North Sea Center Eco-Mare on Texel in April 1996. The contributions of the first symposium were published in the Wadden.

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