Marine Mammals

About

The main objective of this twinning, entitled ‘Marine mammal protection, a way to enhance transatlantic cooperation between MPAs’, was to enable MPA managers to contribute more effectively to marine mammals conservation.

Specific objectives included:

  • To build technical capacities of MPA managers by sharing knowledge, expertise and good practice.
  • To provide MPA managers with a toolbox (a self-assessment tool to ‘track’ the integration of marine mammals into MPA management plans and a checklist).
  • To create a peer network to provide assistance to other MPA managers.
  • To promote the toolbox.
  • To adapt the toolbox to other migratory species such as turtles or other significant species in South-East Asia.

 

Activities and results

  • Expanded the twinning project.
  • Further refined and developed the products created in the previous phase: a self-assessment tool (for the integration of marine mammals into MPA management plans) and a checklist. The self-assessment tool was tested at a larger scale; the checklist was enhanced.
  • Promotion and uptake of the toolbox, which became a reference tool for marine mammals managers.
  • Workshops and capacity-building for marine mammals MPA managers.
  • Support to the development of a twinning project on marine turtle protection with partners in the Atlantic and SE Asia.
  • Promoted and shared results and tools with the other twinning projects in order to multiply and maximise the learning, feedback and results.
  • Applied a monitoring and evaluation methodology to the twinning project’s processes and results.

 

Partners

Whale and Dolphin Conservation​, Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS)​, International Whaling Commission​, Fisheries & Ocean, Canada​, North American Marine Protected Area Network (NAMPAN)​, Commonwealth Blue Charter​,The Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC)​, The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)​, The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA)​, Abidjan Convention​, The Regional Partnership for West Africa Coastal and Marine Conservation (PRCM)​, The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)​,The Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Management Network (WIOMPAN)​, The Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA)​, Massey University​, Aarhus University​, North-East Asian Marine Protected Area Network (NEAMPAN)

Tools

https://marine-mammals.info

Images: (top) Humpback whale, Mexico. Credit: Michele Roux. (right) Humpbacks. Credit: François Baelen.

Images: (top) Humpback whale, Mexico. Credit: Michele Roux. (right) Humpbacks. Credit: François Baelen.

I would like to thank the Ocean Governance for inviting Bermuda’s Marine Mammal Sanctuary to join their project. Although I am the manager who is responsible for the conservation of marine mammals in Bermuda’s Marine Mammal Sanctuary (BMMS), I am not a marine mammal specialist. We do not have one within the Bermuda Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), so the inclusion of the BMMS in the Marine Mammal Twinning has been of great value to us as we have been able to draw on the expertise of others.

Bermuda’s Marine Mammal Sanctuary does not have a management plan. The Marine Mammals Management Toolkit’s Self-Assessment Tool is an extremely useful checklist of actions for the conservation of marine mammals that will help to guide the development of a management plan for our Exclusive Economic Zone, which is our Marine Mammal Sanctuary. This will be created as part of Bermuda’s Marine Spatial Plan, which is currently being developed as part of the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme.

The connections I have made with the partners of the Marine Mammal Twinning have opened up collaborative opportunities that are helping the DENR increase our knowledge about the marine mammals in our waters. At the Marine Mammal Twinning workshops I met the representative from the Agoa Sanctuary. As a result, Bermuda was invited to join some of the Caribbean Marine Mammal Preservation Network meetings and take part in their Passive Acoustic Study for the wider Caribbean. We have since set up a hydrophone in deep water off Bermuda that records sound from nearby marine mammals. So far this has been analysed for humpback whales and dolphins by a team at the University of Toulon led by Prof. Herve Glotin, and we now know more about the behaviour of these species in our waters. Without this collaboration, the Bermuda Government would not have the resources to undertake this valuable research. 

Bermuda’s Marine Mammal Sanctuary has benefited in a number of ways from being included in the Marine Mammal Twinning, for which we are very grateful.

Sarah Manuel, Bermuda Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)