The Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force has established IMMA Regional Groups to lead follow-up actions from the regional IMMA workshops. The Regional Groups comprise a permanent group of researchers and marine mammal experts most of whom participated in the regional IMMA workshop. Each regional group is facilitated by one or more regional coordinators. The tasks of the IMMA Regional Group coordinator and the group include the following:
REGIONAL COORDINATORS TASKS
- Group Maintenance
Assemble the regional group by co-opting and involving the region’s marine mammal place-based conservation experts, covering all relevant species, subregions and other aspects as needed (MPA and MSP experts, various threat experts, etc.), and providing to the IMMA Secretariat yearly update of the group’s membership list (names, contact details and specialities).
The initial list of group members will include participants in the relevant regional workshop. However, changes may occur and should be reflected in the list. E.g., other experts likely existing in the region who for some reason have not attended the last workshop can be included successively. In addition, over time there will be new experts that emerge in each region that are involved in IMMA-related work but were not engaged at the time of the last workshop, and it is beneficial to also add these new names to the IMMA regional group list. Proposals for the inclusion of new members can be made by the RCs or by the Secretariat. Before inclusion, an agreement about it should be reached among the Secretariat, the RCs, and the concerned expert.
- e-Atlas Maintenance
In concert with the IMMA Secretariat and regional expert group:
- examine current IMMAs and verify that all the information pertaining to them is current or needs modification;
- examine current cIMMAs and address actions to award them IMMA status;
- support the drafting and updating of informative factsheets made in collaboration with the IMMA Secretariat.
Furthermore, in preparation for the next regional workshop:
- help to collect new pAoI based on proposals by the region group;
- examine current AoI with a view to awarding them IMMA status.
- Regional Workshops
Assist in logistical and other support for follow-up actions and future regional workshops.
- IMMA Regional Implementation
- Promote awareness of IMMAs in the region by disseminating links to the e-Atlas and relevant factsheets through appropriate networks and channels, and by mentioning them in reports and publications;
- Support the transition from science to management within IMMAs by encouraging regional stakeholders to consult and use IMMAs to design appropriate mitigation or management measures, including during relevant marine spatial planning or by examining the need for establishing marine mammal protected areas (MMPAs);
- Implement, to the extent possible, an early warning system (EWS) to help detect any changes arising in the conservation status of the region’s marine mammals that might warrant management and conservation attention or intervention.
- Knowledge Base Consolidation
Promote the collection of scientific knowledge of the ecology and status of marine mammals in the region, including facilitating/stimulating:
- the collection of new ecological data on the existing marine mammal populations;
- monitoring of existing regional relevant pressures on and threats to marine mammal populations;
- surveying existing management measures in place (mostly within IMMAs) to address pressures;
- examining the need for the establishment of MMPAs and following up with proposals, lobbying, and providing scientific and conservation expertise.
Report annually about RC activities to the Task Force.