Resolutions from the 10th meeting of the PBSG in Sochi, Russia 1988

Res#1-1988: Coordinated international efforts towards research and management of polar bears

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that Article II of the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears (Agreement) states that contracting parties shall take appropriate action to protect the ecosystem of which polar bears are a part; and,

Recognizing that Article VII of the Agreement states that contracting parties shall consult with other parties on the management of migrating polar bear populations and exchange information on research and management programs, research results and data on bears taken; and,

Recognizing that industrialization of northern nearshore and offshore areas and its concomitant growth in human numbers represent potential threats to polar bear habitat, and thus to polar bears; and,

Recognizing that many northern indigenous people depend on polar bears for their culture and economy; and,

Noting that considerable progress has been made recently in the conservation of the shared populations of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea as a result of international cooperation in research, and through the development of a joint management agreement by the indigenous people who hunt polar bears from the countries;

Therefore urges that the affected countries immediately take more action steps to coordinate research, environmental assessments, and management of shared polar bear populations in the Chukchi and Bering seas, Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, Greenland Sea and the Barents Sea.

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Res#2-1988: Selective harvest of polar bears

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that Article II of the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears states that the contracting parties - Shall take appropriate action to protect - denning areas - and - manage polar bear populations in accordance with sound conservation practices based on the best available scientific data; and,

Recognizing that recent research on mathematical modeling of polar bear population dynamics clearly show that the survival of adult females is the most important sex and age class for the maintenance of population viability; and,

Recognizing that the traditional skills of indigenous people often result in a selective harvest favoring adult males,

Therefore recommends that contracting parties which permit the harvest of polar bears encourage selective harvest of males rather than females by all appropriate means.

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Res#3-1988: Histological analyses

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that Article II of the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears states that contracting parties shall take appropriate action to protect the ecosystem of which polar bears are a part; and,

Recognizing that industrialization of northern seashore and offshore areas and increases in global pollution are affecting arctic marine ecosystems; and,

Noting that analysis of organochlorine contaminants in tissues of polar bears in several arctic areas of Canada has identified significant increases between 1969 and 1984;

Therefore recommends that polar bear tissues be collected from as many areas as possible throughout the circumpolar range of polar bears, at approximately 5-year intervals, to monitor changes in concentrations of these substances on arctic marine ecosystem.

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Res#4-1988: Petroleum development and activities in the Barents Sea

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the USSR and Norway share a common population of polar bears which occupy the Barents Sea; and,

Recognizing that the population occupying the Barents Sea presently is the least affected population of large carnivores in the world; and,

Recognizing that both the USSR and Norway are in the initial stages of petroleum development in the area of the Barents Sea; and,

Recognizing that polar bears are known to be vulnerable to oil pollution and disturbances related to petroleum activity and other human activities; and,

Recognizing that the present ecological problems in the Barents Sea may affect the polar bears negatively,

Therefore recommends that coordinated polar bear impact assessments and monitoring programs be conducted by the USSR and Norway in the Barents Sea, and that necessary biological information be exchanged.

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Res#5-1988: Problem bears in the USSR

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the conservation authorities in the USSR are contemplating a future harvest of polar bears in the western Soviet Union; and,

Recognizing that this group belongs to a shared population; and,

Recognizing that this polar bear population may presently be exposed to less human impacts than any other,

Therefore urges conservation authorities in the USSR to try to solve their management problems first with deterrent methods that may maintain the unique character of this population. Further, that management problems should be addressed in accordance with the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. The PBSG recommends management measures affecting this population should be approached through consultation with Norway.

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Res#6-1988: Biochemical analysis of microelements contained in bone tissue of polar bears

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears requires that, Each contracting party - shall manage polar bear populations in accordance with sound conservation practices and based on the best available scientific data; and,

Recognizing that definition of subpopulations is fundamental to management; and,

Recognizing that preliminary studies on microelements occurring in bone tissues conducted by scientists in the Soviet Union offer promise in identifying subpopulations; and,

Recognizing that continued efforts to empirically discern subpopulation is necessary to a comprehensive management regime;

Therefore recommends that priority be established for the coordinated collection of bone specimens from potential subpopulations from all circumpolar countries; and,

Further recommends that the Soviet Union coordinate the collection effort, analysis and publication of results.

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Res#7-1988: Technique development and coordinated study efforts

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears requires that each contracting party - shall manage polar bear populations in accordance with sound conservation practices and based on the best available scientific data; and,

Recognizing that accurate estimates of the size of polar bear populations are essential for their management; and,

Recognizing that continuing, multi-year mark and recapture studies of polar bears for the purpose of monitoring population status are very expensive,

Therefore recommends that scientists from all countries strive to develop new alternative methods for estimating population size (and other parameters) such as aerial surveys, use of biomarkers, improved mark and recapture designs, and radiotelemetry.

Further recommends that when proven techniques are developed; regular, coordinated, and simultaneous surveys and studies, employing those techniques, must be conducted by all parties in order to periodically assess the status of the world's polar bear stocks.

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Res#8-1988: Joint research and management programs between USSR and USA in Bering and Chukchi Seas

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that Article VII of the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears states that the contracting parties shall - consult with other parties on the management of migrating polar bear populations and exchange information from research and management programs; and,

Recognizing that the USSR and USA share a common population of polar bears which occupies the Bering and Chukchi Seas; and,

Recognizing that USA is currently harvesting polar bears from the population and that the USSR is considering harvesting polar bears from the population; and,

Recognizing that both the USSR and USA have active but separate research and management programs on the polar bear populations in the Bering and Chukchi Seas; and,

Recognizing that cooperative research and management programs between the USSR and USA on polar bears in the Bering and Chukchi Seas are highly desirable;

Therefore recommends that a joint research and management program for polar bears in the Bering and Chukchi Seas be developed between the USSR and USA scientists and managers. The initial program should include the exchange of scientists between the two countries and the development of a coordinated research program beneficial to both parties.

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Res#9-1988: Use of aircraft and large motorized vessels

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that Article IV of the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears (Agreement) states that - the use of aircraft and large motorized vessels for the purpose of taking polar bears shall be prohibited; and,

Recognizing that the USA and Greenland (Denmark) currently lack specific and comprehensive regulations which address the methods and means of taking polar bears; and,

Recognizing that in Alaska, polar bears have been taken recently with the aid of aircraft; and,

Recognizing that in Greenland indigenous peoples have used large motorized vessels, to a small degree, to harvest polar bears; and,

Recognizing that the intention of the authors and signatures of the Agreement is to prevent potential abuses regarding the mode of transportation in the taking of polar bears,

Therefore recommends that contracting parties take all steps necessary to curtail, as expeditiously as possible, the use of aircraft and large motorized vessels for the purpose of taking polar bears within their jurisdiction.

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Res#10-1988: Machine data storage, processing and analysis

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the advances in computer-assisted data processing and analysis that have been developed specifically for polar bear research and management; and,

Recognizing that sharing of data and software is greatly facilitated by compatible machine and data formats,

Therefore recommends that the contracting parties develop effective and appropriate computerized data handling and analysis systems to insure efficient and accurate communication of data and analysis programs.

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Res#11-1988: Participation in future meetings

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that the governments of Canada, Norway, Denmark, USA and USSR signed the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears (Agreement) formally recognizing that the special responsibilities for the protection of arctic flora and fauna could best be accomplished through international cooperation; and,

Noting that Article VII of the Agreement states that the contracting parties shall conduct national research programs on polar bears - and - exchange research results, data, and other information on research and management programs;

Recommends that the governments of the parties ensure that their polar bear scientists are able to participate fully in future meetings of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group, to ensure the maximum international exchange of research and management information on polar bears, as was intended when the Agreement was signed.

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Res#12-1988: Thanks to the USSR for hosting of the Tenth Working meeting of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that Article VII of the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears states that contracting parties shall - exchange information on research and management programs, research results, and data on bears taken; and,

Recognizing that participation by all contracting parties contributed to the success of this meeting; and,

Recognizing that for the first time the meeting was held in the Soviet Union,

Therefore gratefully extends its thanks to the All Union Research Institute for Nature Conservation and Reserves, and the Polar Bear Meeting Organization Committee for their diligent efforts and warm hospitability in organizing and conducting this productive meeting on the Twentieth Anniversary of the founding of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group.

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