The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) is a professional society for conservation scientists and practitioners from academia, government, charities, and professional associations. In 2009 its Marine Section held the first International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC). The organizers wanted the IMCC to be more than a typical scientific conference, where the 15-minute talk format allows for little give or take with attendees. The IMCC was meant to be an opportunity for collaboration among conservation stakeholders, including fishermen, commercial whale watchers, oil and gas representatives, and zoo professionals, as well as non-profits and academics. The output from the IMCC’s workshops, focus groups, and symposia would be tangible actions and products that would advance marine conservation.
The third IMCC was held August 12–19 in Glasgow, Scotland. The main theme, “Making Marine Science Matter,” was addressed in a number of contexts, including marine noise, overfishing, marine protected areas, and marine tourism. Also, for the first time, the IMCC hosted a symposium on the ethics and welfare of marine mammals involved in research, recreation, education, and human-wildlife conflict (for example, when sea lions remove fish from fishermen’s lines and nets).
AWI’s Dr. Naomi Rose was an invited speaker for the ethics symposium, and while the audience was relatively small, the topic is a new one for many marine scientists and interest should grow. The audience was encouragingly multinational and engaged in the topic. A follow-up focus group discussed producing a peer-reviewed paper or papers covering the issues presented at the symposium. AWI will remain involved in this effort to promote marine animal welfare within the SCB.