IMMA workshop participants. Photo courtesy of the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, 26 March 2018 – Dr Donna Kwan from the CMS Dugong MOU Secretariat attended the third Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) workshop in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia from 12-16 March 2018. The workshop, held by the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force, covered the North East Indian Ocean and South East Asian Seas region.
The workshop was attended by 34 marine mammal experts and observers from 17 countries. Participants worked through more than 100 areas of interest that had been submitted for consideration to the workshop. From these 100 areas of interest, 33 areas were merged, 11 were deferred and 24 were kept as areas of interest.
Detailed profiles w IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force ere developed for 46 candidate IMMAs. The candidate IMMAs will now go to peer review before being considered for the IMMA e-Atlas as official designations.
The preliminary results from the workshop are expected to be announced at the European Cetacean Society annual meeting in April 2018. Final results are expected to be announced in September 2018.
Since 2016, the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force has focused on setting up a series of regional workshops to identify IMMAs. The first workshop was held in the Mediterranean in 2016, followed by the Pacific Islands in 2017. It is expected that the Western Indian Ocean and Arabian Seas workshop will take place in 2019, the Australia-New Zealand waters and South East Indian Ocean workshop in 2020 and the South East Tropical and Temperate Pacific Ocean workshop in 2021.
IMMAs are defined by the Task Force as discrete portions of habitat, important to marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. IMMAs consist of areas that comprise a potential marine mammal layer for consideration of conservation measures by governments, intergovernmental organisations, conservation groups, and the general public. The IMMA e-Atlas can be accessed online and provides boundaries of IMMAs, candidate IMMAs and Areas of Interest for the regional workshops that have already concluded.
Last updated on 02 April 2018