Twenty-six areas in the Mediterranean awarded IMMA status
3rd Aug. 2017. The IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force today announces the approval of 26 Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the Mediterranean and the new IMMA e-Atlas.
In Oct. 2016, in Chania, Greece, 41 candidate Important Marine Mammal Areas (cIMMAs) were presented by experts for consideration. From this list, 26 IMMAs were accepted by the independent review panel, some with detailed revisions, along with 5 areas that will remain cIMMAs subject to further revision. The IMMAs that were not approved have joined the list of Areas of Interest (AoI) which now number 39 in the Mediterranean region. The AoI will be reconsidered for IMMA status during the next iteration in the Mediterranean region.
The approved IMMAs and cIMMAs are displayed on an interactive map, an IMMA e-Atlas. For now, this is a “lite” version showing the areas and descriptions with criteria rationale for selection. By late October, the Task Force plans to have available detailed PDFs with references and other supporting information for each area. In addition, the AoI will be put on the map with the IMMAs and cIMMAs.
The Mediterranean was the first IMMA workshop and since then the Task Force has held a successful second IMMA workshop for the Pacific Islands in Apia, Samoa, in March/April 2017. The preliminary report has just been completed for this workshop (also available on the downloads page), and the proposed cIMMAs will be going to the independent review panel this month. By the end of the year or early 2018, the Task Force hopes to have a final report with the approved list of IMMAs for this region which will then be entered into the IMMA e-Atlas.
The Task Force would like to take this opportunity to thank all the experts and observers who attended the Mediterranean IMMA meeting, as well as the Pacific Islands IMMA meeting, to partners Tethys, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, International Committee on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) and Eulabor Waterevolution, to the ACCOBAMS Secretariat for the Mediterranean and to SPREP for the Pacific Islands region, and to the main sponsors, MAVA (for the Mediterranean meeting) and the International Climate Initiative (IKI) supported by the German Federal Government (for the Pacific Islands), and other supporters Animal Welfare Institute, Eulabor and Pacific Life Foundation.