From 2016 onwards the major activity of the MMPA Task Force has been to organise a series of regional expert workshops tasked with identifying IMMAs in several of the world’s marine macroregions.
IMMA Workshop Dates and Regions
click on links for more information on the output of each workshop and to download the reports
- 2016 – Mediterranean Sea region
- 2017 – Pacific Islands region *
- 2018 – Extended Southern Ocean region
- 2018 – North East Indian Ocean and South East Asian Seas region *
- 2019 – Western Indian Ocean and Arabian Seas region *
- 2020 – Australia-New Zealand and South East Indian Ocean region
- 2020 – South East Tropical and Temperate Pacific Ocean (postponed temporarily due to the pandemic) *
- 2021 – Black Sea, Turkish Straits System and Caspian Sea region *
Financial Sponsors of IMMA Workshops
- The six workshops marked with * were/will be funded through the GOBI/IKI project – part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). These workshops are supported 90% by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. The remaining support was provided in part by the Eulabor Institute, and in part by Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
- The Extended Southern Ocean Workshop in 2018 was supported by the Office français de la biodiversité (OFB), formerly the Agence française pour la biodiversité.
- The Mediterranean Sea Workshop in 2016 was supported by the MAVA Foundation.
IMMA Workshop Organisation Timeline and Process
IMMAs are identified through an expert-led process involving the collation and assessment of evidence against a set of selection criteria. This process (please refer to the Table at the end of this page), lasting approximately 10 months, aims to engage a wide range of representatives within the marine mammal science and conservation communities where much of the evidence necessary to assess IMMAs is held. A four-stage process under the auspices of the Task Force is used to identify, review, and accept or reject IMMA nominations, as follows:
Stage 1 – Workshop preparation
The first stage, lasting about five months, is dedicated to the preparation of the expert workshop and includes the delimitation of the region, the preparation of maps, the identification of experts, the selection of the venue and of the workshop dates, the soliciting of submission of preliminary Areas of Interest (pAoI) by the scientific community at large, the collation of the submitted pAoIs and of an inventory of the available knowledge of marine mammal habitat in the considered region.
Stage 2 – Workshop
The workshop itself – the second stage – takes place during the 5th month, lasts five days, and is typically attended by 25-30 experts, tasked to examine the submitted pAoIs (which can also be contributed by the convened experts during the workshop), and for pAoIs that are judged to have strong enough evidence to fulfill the IMMA Criteria complete the necessary forms to convert them into candidate IMMAs (cIMMAs) that will be submitted for review.
Stage 3 – candidate IMMA (cIMMA) review
The third stage, lasting three months, consists in the submission of the cIMMAs to an independent Review Panel nominated by the Task Force. The Panel selects the cIMMAs that meet the Criteria and that rest on robust science, converting them in IMMAs. cIMMAs that need further revision, as well as AoI that could not be converted into cIMMAs, will be resubmitted at a successive workshop in the same region.
Stage 4 – Reporting and Communication
During Stage 4, spread out of the final four months of the period, the workshop report is drafted and issued (=posted on this website) in a preliminary version; after the results from the Review Panel become available, a final version incorporating all results is posted in substitution of the preliminary version. Corresponding news releases are also issued, and posted on the Task Force website and on social media. Finally the new IMMAs are added to the IMMA e-Atlas and online searchable IMMA database.