The First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected
Areas, which was held 30 March - 3 April in Maui, Hawaii,
issued recommendations to further address threats and identify
solutions for the management of marine mammals around the
At the conference, more than 200 marine mammal scientists,
managers of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as well as educators
and representatives of international institutions from more
than 40 countries came together to share information on
approaches to marine mammal management and conservation.
The theme of the conference focused on “networks:
making connections” – inviting conservationists
to enhance networking within MPAs.
More than 500 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been established
or proposed in some 90 countries around the world. This
was the first conference where relevant professionals discussed
the role of MPAs and networks to mitigate threats to cetaceans
and to manage the balance between commercial and economic
interests. Successful Marine Mammal Protected Areas (MMPAs)
must reconcile animal and human needs and take into consideration
the interests of people.
Participants explored the possibility of a bilateral “sister
sanctuary” agreement between the Hawaiian Islands
Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary managed by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and
the Komandor Islands Biosphere Reserve in the Russian Aleutian
In addition, they highlighted the conservation opportunities
that CMS, CMS regional seas agreements with a focus on marine
mammals and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements
such as CBD, SPREP, SARDPAN and SPAW provide to MMPAs; and
called upon countries to join in these international efforts.
The objective of the conference was to learn from mutual
experience and create opportunities to work together to
address issues related to common species, populations, threats
and the establishment of networks. Delegates emphasized
the need of effective Highs Seas management and to create
an advisory council for MPAs and MPA designation. In this
context, more dynamic features for MPA designation such
as climate change and alternating habitats need to be included.
The conference was hosted by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback
Whale National Marine Sanctuary, CMS partner NOAA and NOAA
Fisheries Office of International Affairs. Supporters of
the conference included ACCOBAMS, IWC, Marine Mammal Commission,
NOAA, WDCS, Pelagos and the Pacific Whale Foundation.