New Toolkit to Improve Marine Mammal Conservation in MPAs

14 July 2021 – A Marine Mammal Management Toolkit has been released by the European Union-funded Ocean Governance project.

Marine mammals are increasingly subject to anthropogenic threats such as bycatch, ship strikes and noise pollution. There is a real need for effective conservation measures, which are often applied through the designation and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). However, their success is often limited due to lack of capacity, resources and on occasion of relevant expertise.

This Toolkit will provide knowledge to support marine mammal conservation in MPAs. It aims to empower policy makers, managers and practitioners to effectively conserve marine mammals, tackle the present threats they are facing and fill knowledge gaps on this topic. It also intends to better include marine mammals into MPAs and other conservation and management plans locally, nationally and internationally, and can be accessed by anyone – from professionals to members of the public.

The Marine Mammal Management Toolkit encompasses three key elements: Good Practices, Factsheets and a Self-Assessment Tool (SAT). The Good Practices present key example showcasing best practises of marine mammal management, MPA impact mitigation, monitoring and design which were implemented throughout the marine environment and MPAs. 23 Factsheets are also available within the Toolkit, which are continuously updated and cover five crucial themes: Management Frameworks, Addressing Activities and Threats, Research and Monitoring, Outreach and Engagement and Management Effectiveness. Finally, the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) is supported by the Factsheets and allows relevant parties to assess the extent of marine mammals’ inclusion in their respective management plans. It has been created to be a continuous process, simplifying MPA evaluation and monitoring over time.

For more details, please refer to the Press Release from the Ocean Governance Project.

In May and June 2021, ASCOBANS organised a Workshop on Management of MPAs for Small Cetaceans, together with the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, WWF Germany, WWF Sweden, Coalition Clean Baltic, and the Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process. The workshop facilitated diffusion of knowledge on best practice approaches to MPA management, and discussions on well-formulated conservation objectives and conservation measures for small cetacean MPAs. It further aimed to create a toolbox of practical measures to inspire and provide guidance to MPA management plan developers and authorities. The outcomes will be posted on the workshop page in due course.


Last updated on 14 July 2021

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Species group: 
Marine mammals