Managers of marine protected areas and other stakeholders involved in marine mammals conservation can now access an online toolkit to support their work protecting marine mammals, developed within the framework of the Ocean Governance project.

The toolkit is comprised of factsheets, examples of good practice and a self-assessment tool, and is designed to support the integration of marine mammals into MPA management plans. It has been developed by participants in the marine mammals twinning project, a partnership of MPA managers in countries around the Atlantic basin and established in a first phase of the current project (starting in 2016), which aims to boost the capacity of MPA managers to enhance marine mammals conservation.

For now, there are 23 factsheets on topics relevant for marine mammal conservation. For instance, one is on whale and dolphin-watching tourism covering potential impacts and threats to the mammals due to these activities, recommending measures to address the threats and linking to useful resources and examples of good practice. Another factsheet describes factors that affect the number of vessel strikes in a given area, strategies to reduce strikes and useful links such as to an Australian government national strategy for reducing vessel strikes on cetaceans and other marine megafauna.

The toolkit factsheets cover topics on research and monitoring, outreach and engagement, management framework and management effectiveness as well as activities and threats such as those described above.

The self-assessment tool comprises questions related to the factsheet topics. Answers are given a numerical score, enabling MPA managers to effectively self-assess the extent to which marine mammals are included in their management plans.

The toolkit including the 23 factsheets can be found on the new marine mammals platform (link below), an evolving online resource that will be continuously updated over the course of the project. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Marine mammals online platform: https://marine-mammals.info/home