Cetacean migration routes pass through the coastal waters of various countries and territories as well as the high seas. The MOU provides an intergovernmental framework for governments, scientists and other groups to monitor and coordinate ongoing and necessary conservation efforts. Through this MOU, the Pacific Islands Region seeks to foster cooperation, build capacity and ensure coordinated region-wide conservation for cetaceans and their habitats, as well as to safeguard the cultural values cetaceans have for the people of the Pacific Islands.

Numerous programmes are already underway and support the MOU’s implementation. Countries have looked to standardize how they report and collect data from stranded cetaceans. Studies have been undertaken to look at the interactions between cetaceans and commercial fishing. Educational programmes have helped connect local communities to conservation efforts.

A public education initiative has raised awareness of the threats caused to marine and bird life by ocean pollution. Cetaceans are vulnerable to getting tangled in plastic debris and there have been documented cases of cetaceans mistaking plastic bags for food, which can be lethal. Several governments have reacted to the “plastic plague” by banning importation of plastic bags and strengthening solid waste control plans.

Last updated on 11 March 2014