Scientists and observers from many different countries have identified and mapped 36 new Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs), from northern Mexico to the southern tip of Chile.
IMMAs are essentially portions of ocean important to marine mammal species that have the potential to be set aside for conservation management.
The addition of the latest 36 important areas brings the number of IMMAs worldwide to 209.
If we can identify and create areas that help protect whales and dolphins then we can help create a healthier ocean, and a healthy ocean helps fight climate breakdown.
Nearly half of the world’s 132 marine mammal species—whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions and sea otters – live or pass through the 36 recently mapped areas.
The IMMA initiative is a partnership between Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the IUCN Joint SSC-WCPA Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force, and the Tethys Research Institute.
‘We have now surpassed 50% of the world ocean which has been considered for IMMA identification,’ said Erich Hoyt, WDC research fellow and co-chair of the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force.
‘We now have a total of 209 IMMAs which can be used as a tool in marine spatial planning and for conservation measures by governments, intergovernmental organisations, conservation groups, and the general public.’