Ocean Governance Project at Monaco Ocean Week 2023

The Ocean Governance project took an active part in this year’s Monaco Ocean Week, which took place from 20 to 25 March. Two official events on 22 March presented the project and its progress in 2022, and the new Global Alliance for Ocean Protection.

The first event, “The EU Ocean Governance Project: helping MPA managers build partnerships around the world”, presented the project’s components and screened the recently released project videos, which helped bring the project to life for the audience. Speakers at the event were Purificacio Canals (Ocean Governance Project Coordinator, President of MedPAN), Francis Staub (Marine Mammals Twinning Coordinator), Marie Romani (Twinning Partner, Executive Secretary, MedPAN) and Jean-Jacques Goussard (Coastal Resilience Twinning Coordinator).

The project also contributed to the presentation of the new Global Alliance for Marine Protection, an initiative by conservation trust funds to create a global community to support effectively managed and sustainably financed MPAs (read more here).

It was a pleasure to meet participants at the event and discover so much interest in our topics and our work with MPA networks, as well as to get the opportunity to establish new connections. We thank the organisers of Monaco Ocean Week, our partners at the Global Alliance for Marine Protection and our event speakers.

Monaco Ocean Week was founded in 2016 by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and organised by the Prince of Albert Foundation, the Monaco government, and other partners. The event takes place annually in Monaco and has grown to become an international forum on ocean conservation and sustainability. The event brings together a diverse range of stakeholders, including scientists, policymakers, NGOs, businesses and the general public, to engage in dialogue and develop solutions to pressing challenges facing the ocean today.

Ocean Governance Twinning hosts webinar to enhance marine mammal management in the Western Indian Ocean

Ocean Governance Twinning hosts webinar to enhance marine mammal management in the Western Indian Ocean

Marine mammal conservation is a pressing concern in the Western Indian Ocean, which is a hotspot for 34 marine mammal species, particularly the dugong, but also whales and dolphins. These species play vital ecological roles and contribute to the overall biodiversity of the region. Unfortunately, many of these species are classified as endangered or threatened, facing population declines due to overharvest, accidents with vessels, and fishing net entanglements. 


Effective management strategies can contribute to safeguarding their populations. In a joint effort to address this issue, the Marine Mammal Twinning (MMT), a component of the EU-funded Ocean Governance (OG) project, collaborated with the Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Management Network (WIOMPAN) and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) to organise a webinar entitled “Towards Effective Management of Marine Mammals in the Western Indian Ocean: The Marine Mammals Management Toolkit”.


The webinar, held on 13 April and hosted by MMT team member Anna Safryghin, aimed to introduce participants to the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, which has been designed to enhance the management of marine mammal populations in marine protected areas around the world.


Arthur Tuda, WIOMSA Executive Secretary,  described how the Western Indian Ocean is a hotspot for marine mammals but that it lacks mechanisms for stakeholders to work together to monitor their movements across the region. “Coming together here as practitioners in the Western Indian Ocean region, particularly wit WIOMPAN, is a very important opportunity for us to explore the use of this tool and see how we can work together to monitor marine mammals in all our 144 protected areas in the Western Indian Ocean region.”


Puri Canals, Ocean Governance project  Technical Director and Twinning Coordinator, presented the project and its involvement in supporting marine mammal management initiatives through the Marine Mammals Twinning and Toolkit.


Dr. Nina Wambiji, of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and WIOMSA Country Coordinator, explained the critical role marine mammals play in maintaining the ecological balance of the Western Indian Ocean, as well as the positive impacts they have on the economy by creating tourism opportunities. Her expertise provided valuable insights into the significance of marine mammal conservation.


Anna Safryghin presented the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, which provides practical guidance and strategies for MPAs to include marine mammal protection in their management plans. She invited the participants to review the factsheets in the toolkit, submit best practices to the MMT catalogue, and become members of the twinning’s Community of Practice.


Thomas Dallison, also from the Marine Mammal Twinning, gave a detailed demonstration of the Self-Assessment Tool and SAT-Lite, interactive features which allow users to assess their current management practices and identify areas for improvement.


Benjamin Haskell, of the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shared his experience of using the MMT toolkit in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, an important whale-watching site in Massachusetts Bay, east of Boston. He described the toolkit as “an extremely useful resource”. “I highly recommend that you use the toolkit and also include the Self-Assessment tool in order to focus your management planning activities”, he told the webinar participants.


The webinar was recorded and is available to watch here.