Marine Mammal Commission

2019 Annual Meeting

A Spotlight on the Hawaiian Islands and the Wider Pacific

A false killer whale of the endangered Main Hawaiian Islands insular population (Credit: Robin Baird, Cascadia Research).

The Commission’s 2019 Annual Meeting on May 21-23, 2019 in Kona, Hawaii focuses on marine mammal science and management issues specific to the Hawaiian Islands and the wider Pacific region. The meeting begins with an overview of the oceanographic and ecologic characteristics of the region. Next, guest speakers and panelists address several key species, with discussion organized around general topics: stock assessments and population trends, threats and mitigation actions, monitoring techniques, management progress, and policy recommendations. Some specific examples include discussion of: human interactions with spinner dolphins, conservation of Hawaiian monk seals, impact of bycatch on insular false killer whale populations and other odontocetes, and status of the humpback whale population around the Hawaiian Islands and Southeast Alaska. The meeting concludes by looking at the marine mammal issues of the Wider Pacific Island Region. The  Commission welcomes researchers, fishermen, conservationists, local community groups, policy-makers, and the general public to attend.

Following the meeting, this page will host the presentations, audio recordings, and brief summaries of each session below. Materials will be posted as they become available.

Click here for a PDF copy of the draft agenda. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback.

Day 1: Tuesday May 21

8:30-9:00 AM: Public Meeting Begins

  • Welcome and Overview from the Chairman
    Daryl Boness, Chairman, Marine Mammal Commission (MMC)

Audio MP3 on YouTube

9:00-9:45 AM: Overview of the Hawaiian Islands

Brady O’Donnell, Communications Officer, MMC

Audio MP3 on YouTube

Session Summary

Morning Break

10:15-12:15 PM: Spinner Dolphins

Randy Wells, Senior Conservation Scientist, Chicago Zoological Society, and Scientific Advisor to the MMC

  1. Luna Kekoa, Community Based Fishing Area Planner, Division of Aquatic Resources for the State of Hawai‘i
  2. Colin Cornforth, Captain, Captain Zodiac
  3. Stephanie Stack, Chief Biologist, Pacific Whale Foundation
  4. Marc Lammers, Research Coordinator, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
  5. Damien Kenison, Kama‘aina United to Protect the ‘Aina, Friends of Ho’ookena Beach Park

Audio MP3 on YouTube

Session Summary

Lunch Break

1:45-5:00 PM: Hawaiian Monk Seals
Frances Gulland, Research Associate, Wildlife Health Center, University of California Davis, and Commissioner, MMC

Hawaiian Monk Seals - a focal topic of our Annual Meeting

Hawaiian Monk Seals – a focal topic of our Annual Meeting

Afternoon Break

  • Impacts on French Frigate Shoals pupping habitat and Tern Island infrastructure and potential ways to minimize those impacts
    Amanda Boyd, Policy Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Main Hawaiian Islands cause of death analysis: Quantifying the impact of individual threats on population growth rate
    Michelle Barbieri, Veterinarian, Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
  • Management of fisheries interactions at the state level and Hawaii’s priorities for conserving monk seals
    Suzanne Case, Chairperson, DLNR for the State of Hawai‘i
  • Panel Discussion
    Additional Panelists
  1. Malia Akutagawa, Native Hawaiian from Molokaʻi; Assistant Professor of Law and Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  2. Phil Fernandez, Kailua-Kona Fisherman; President, Hawai‘i Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition
  3. Whitney Beer-Kerr, Development Manager, Hawaii Marine Animal Response

Audio MP3 on YouTube

Session Summary

5:00-5:30 PM: Public comments, end of day recap, action items
Daryl Boness, Chairman, MMC

 

Day 2: Wednesday May 22

8:30-12:15 PM: Odontocete Fishery Interactions

 

8:30-10:15 AM: Pelagic False Killer Whales

Peter Thomas, Executive Director, MMC

False killer whale missing dorsal fin

False killer whale, October 15, 2010. This individual is missing the dorsal fin, likely lost through an interaction with fishing gear. (Daniel Webster, Cascadia Research, NMFS Permit # 731-1774)

  1. Brendan Cummings, Conservation Director, Center for Biological Diversity, and Take Reduction Team (TRT) member
  2. Hannah Bernard, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, and TRT Member
  3. Eric Kingma, Executive Director, Hawaii Longline Association
  4. Asuka Ishizaki, Protected Species Coordinator, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

Audio MP3 on YouTube

Session Summary

Morning Break

10:45-12:15 PM: Island Odontocetes: Insular False Killer Whales, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, Rough-toothed Dolphins, and Bottlenose Dolphins

Frances Gulland, Research Associate, Wildlife Health Center, University of California Davis, and Commissioner, MMC

  1. Kenton Geer, Fisherman
  2. Jeff Rogers, Fisherman

Audio MP3 on YouTube

Session Summary

Lunch Break

1:45-5:15 PM: Humpback Whales

Sue Moore, Affiliate Professor, Center for Ecosystem Sentinels, Department of Biology, University of Washington, and Scientific Advisor to the MMC

Humpback Whale - one of the many cetaceans are seen around the Hawaiian Islands

Humpback Whale – one of the many cetaceans seen around the Hawaiian Islands

Afternoon Break

  1. Adam Pack, Professor, Departments of Psychology (Chair) and Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Audio MP3 on YouTube

Session Summary

5:15-5:45 PM: Public comments, end of day recap, action items
Daryl Boness, Chairman, MMC

 

Day 3: Thursday May 23

8:30-9:30 AM: Executive Session (closed to public)

Morning Break

9:45-11:15 AM: Wider Pacific Islands Region

Samantha Strindberg, Conservation Scientist and Wildlife Statistician,
Global Conservation Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Scientific
Advisor to the MMC

  • Updates on surveys and cetacean stock assessment (visual, acoustic)
    Erin Oleson, Lead Scientist, Cetacean Research Program, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
  • Western North Pacific humpbacks
    Marie Hill, Cetacean Program Leader, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Cetacean Research Program, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
  • Update on cetacean stranding response efforts and findings throughout the Pacific Islands region
    Kristi West, Associate Researcher, Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Panel Discussion
    Additional Panelists:
  1. David Schofield, Regional Marine Mammal Response Coordinator, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office

Audio MP3 on YouTube

Session Summary (coming soon)

Morning Break

11:30-1:30 PM: Public Comment and Wrap-Up Discussion

Audio MP3 on YouTube