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Entanglements of cetaceans are a major problem worldwide. They have serious repercussions on the conservation of marine mammals. Research suggests that over 300,000 whales and dolphins die annually due to entanglement in fishing gear, with additional unknown numbers also entangled in marine debris.

Training workshops on whale entanglement response have been organized in the African region in partnership with the expert advisory panel on entanglement response of the International Whaling Commission:

During these sessions, trainees learn disentanglement techniques and procedures that have been developed over years of experience and put these into practice with simulated on the water exercises. Aside from conservation concerns, entanglement is a serious animal welfare issue, and may be the greatest source of human-related mortality for large whales.

Michael Meÿer is acting as the resource person for IndoCet to promote whale entanglement response and, as member of the IWC expert and advisory panel can be contacted for advice should an entangled whale occur in the region (+27 825787617). Michael Meÿer is also the operations and training manager of the South African Whale Disentanglement Network. He can be contacted if you are interested in hosting an IWC whale entanglement training workshop in your country at: michaelmeyer0[at]  

A few important points regarding these training sessions:

  • Request: All trainings must have the approval, and ideally participation, of the appropriate Government Agency. 
  • Duration: training consists of 1 day on land, in the classroom (theoretical training) and one day in which a selected number of individuals participate in a practical session on the water using two vessels to build capacity in countries, where the problem is either known or likely to exist. Training vessels are to be provided by the requesting country.
  • IWC Funding includes a basic disentanglement toolkit, but additional country funding is required for the provision of peripheral gear (to constitute a complete entanglement response kit). The IWC can provide the trainers travel expenses, but expenses related to the organization of the workshop and accommodation of the trainer are the responsibility of the organizing country.

Training requirements are prioritized according to known entanglement records.


Link to the International Whaling Commission web page on whale entanglement for more ressources: