Lutra 61(1)_Evans_preface_2018

North Sea cetacean research since the 1960s: advances and gaps

In the 1960s, our knowledge of cetaceans in the North Sea depended largely upon strandings schemes that existed in the countries that surround the southern North Sea, particularly the UK (Fraser 1974, Sheldrick 1976, 1989, Sheldrick et al. 1992, 1994), Belgium (De Smet 1974, 1979, 1981, Van Gompel 1991, 1996), and the Netherlands (van Bree 1977, Smeenk 1987, Addink & Smeenk 1999). Scarcely any sightings programmes existed until the 1970s (Verwey 1975, Evans 1976, 1980, Evans et al. 1986). In those years between the 1960s and 1980s, increasing concern was expressed for the status of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) which appeared to be declining in the North Sea and beyond (Evans 1980, Kayes 1985, Kroger 1986, Kremer 1987, Smeenk 1987). The result was that a small group of scientists, including the late Chris Smeenk to whom this special issue is dedicated, came together to form the European Cetacean Society in 1987,and then issued a statement of concern on behalf of....