3 February 2008 - The extension of the ASCOBANS Agreement
Area, agreed on by the Baltic and North Sea Parties at
MOP4 in 2003, has entered into force on 3 February 2008.
Finland was the fifth country to formally accept the Amendment
to the Agreement, following France, Denmark, Germany and
the Netherlands. The Agreement‘s name also changes
to reflect the new geographic coverage: “Agreement
on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic,
North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas”.
With the significant westward enlargement of the area
covered by ASCOBANS, not only did ASCOBANS gain three
more Range States, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, who will
continue to be encouraged to join the other ten Parties
as member states, also its political footprint will be
significantly larger. The new areas of the North East
Atlantic and Irish Seas bring with them different species
compositions and a wider set of issues and threats that
need to be addressed. But they also increase the scientific
expertise the Agreement bodies can draw from and provide
a chance to coordinate conservation measures of small
cetaceans more effectively in a wider context. The ASCOBANS
area will then be contiguous to that of its sister Agreement,
Congratulations to ASCOBANS!