First Meeting on Dugong Conservation in the Indian Ocean and
South-East Asian Region was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from
23-25 August 2005. Held under the auspices of the Convention
on Migratory Species (CMS), the meeting was co-hosted by the
Governments of Thailand and Australia. The meeting was attended
by participants from about 20 countries, and drew heavily
on the experience gained to date under the IOSEA
Marine Turtle MoU.
An invited expert, Prof. Helene Marsh, explained that dugongs
occupy a wide geographic range, and that due to their particular
life characteristics (eg. long-lived animals with late sexual
maturity; bearing few young that require high parental investment,
highly dependent on seagrass etc) they are impacted by human-related
sources of mortality.
The meeting acknowledged that dugong are known to move
between jurisdictions and that any action to conserve and
manage their populations would require cooperation at a
regional scale. Mr Douglas Hykle, representing the Convention
on Migratory Species, provided information on CMS and conservation
frameworks made under it, including legally binding agreements
and non-legally binding Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).
The meeting recognized that regional frameworks provide
an opportunity to cooperate to conserve species, to share
information, and to secure financial and technical resources.
The meeting noted that the IOSEA Turtle MoU was already
operational in the region and provided a good example of
how cooperation could be achieved through a regional conservation
instrument under the CMS.
Participants went on to identify and discuss the key objectives
and elements for a regional dugong conservation arrangement.
The meeting concluded that a non-legally binding MoU framework
offered the most suitable approach to promote regional cooperation,
and agreed on the appropriate structure and format for a
The meeting also sought to clarify the potential geographic
scope of the MoU, noting the importance of involving countries
throughout the range of the species, as well as other countries
that were relevant. Though no definitive conclusion was
reached, justification was given for extending the coverage
eastward to include relevant Pacific island States, whilst
taking account of other initiatives being undertaken through
Through a number of working groups, the meeting developed
a paper that provided constructive guidance to potential
signatories to an MoU, and to future meetings, on the nature
and scope of potential conservation and management actions
It was agreed that a follow-up meeting would be organised
somewhere in the region in early 2006 to build on the progress
achieved in Bangkok and, if possible, to conclude the terms
of a memorandum of understanding.
Douglas Hykle, Senior CMS Advisor, 30 August 2005
Dugong Status Report and Action Plans for Countries and
Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH):
International, Inc: Dugong Information
Diversity Web (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology):