We have launched a new Special Issue to share and promote data gathered during the IWC’s Southern Ocean Whale Ecosystem Research (SOWER) programme which ran from 1978/79 to 2008/09.

For anyone unfamiliar with the SOWER programme, the first paper in this new Special Issue describes the background, aims and objectives of the SOWER cruises, before reflecting on the SOWER programme’s legacy as one of the largest cetacean research projects ever undertaken, bringing together 86 scientists from 16 member states to complete three circumnavigations of the Southern Ocean over a period of 30 years.

The SOWER Special Issue will be published on a rolling basis throughout 2024, with a wide range of papers to reflect the diversity of data gathered during the SOWER cruises, from blue whale acoustic data and biopsy sampling experiments to abundance estimates of various cetacean species.

The IWC is extremely grateful to the authors for their contributions to the SOWER programme, and, in particular, to Debi Palka, longstanding member of the Scientific Committee, for her time and expertise while overseeing the publication process.