The Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS) is a legal conservation tool based on cooperation. It is the first Agreement on cetacean conservation binding the Countries of these sub-regions, enabling them to work together on a matter of general interest. It was created under the auspices of the Bonn Convention (UNEP/CMS) and resulted from consultation between the Secretariats of four Conventions:
ACCOBAMS was signed on 24th November 1996 and entered in force on June 1st 2001. The Permanent Secretariat is hosted by the Principality Monaco through a Head Quarters Agreement.
The Agreement Area consists of all the maritime waters of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the contiguous Atlantic area west of the Straits of Gibraltar. The Area includes the Pelagos Sanctuary dedicated to marine mammals in the North-West Mediterranean and established by France, Italy and Monaco. The extension of the geographical scope of the ACCOBAMS Area to the Exclusive Economic Zones of Spain and Portugal was adopted in 2010. In January 2014, 23 countries of the ACCOBAMS area were Parties to the Agreement.
This intergovernmental Agreement embodies the drive of riparian Countries to preserve all species of cetaceans and their habitats within the geographical Agreement area by requiring stricter measures than those defined in the texts previously adopted. Its purpose is to reduce threats to cetaceans notably by improving current knowledge on these animals and by promoting closer cooperation amongst Parties with a view to conserving all cetacean species present in the area.
Cetaceans’species are under several threats that cause damages and are among the main reasons for the decline observed in some populations. Most of these threats result from interactions with human activities and practices. Thus, cetaceans undergo the impacts of pollution (chemical, noise and marine debris), of navigation (risk of vessel collisions), of fishing activities (incidental bycatch and reduction of food resources) and of tourism (disturbance). Climate changes represent an additional threat to their environmental balance.
Parties to ACCOBAMS are required to implement a detailed Conservation Plan to achieve and to maintain a favourable conservation status for cetaceans. This commitment combines total protection of threatened species with stronger habitat protection.
From this point forward, within the limits of their sovereignty and/or jurisdiction and in accordance with their international obligations, the Parties are requested to provide:
In addition, ACCOBAMS calls for proposals of projects under the Supplementary Conservation Grant Funds, provides teaching module on cetacean conservation, and runs two regional programmes, i.e., “mitigation of the impacts of fishing activities” and, “assessment and reduction of the impact of ghost fishing on marine biodiversity”.
In order to facilitate communication, a Biennial Conference on Cetacean Conservation in South Mediterranean Countries is also organized by ACCOBAMS.
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|Title||Status||Status date||CMS Party number||Region|
|European Union||Signed but not ratified||001||Europe|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Range State||126||Europe|