Worldwide, more than 375 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been specifically designated for or contain populations of marine mammals. MPAs have been identified as a critical tool for managing ocean resources, yet their effectiveness is challenged by the highly mobile nature of marine species. Marine mammals may use key habitat within MPA boundaries but they spend significant time elsewhere, often at great distances and in the waters of other countries. The establishment of MPA “networks” is being proposed as a strategy for managing highly mobile marine mammals. Yet, whether formal networks are established or not, managers charged with protecting marine mammals share many of the same issues and challenges. Most marine mammal MPA practitioners work in isolation in corners of the world from the Chilean fjords to remote Pacific islands, “re-inventing the wheel”, as there has been no effective forum for MPA managers, scientists and educators to share their approaches, successes and failures with regard to marine mammal habitat protection. Recently, a group of marine mammal and MPA experts formed a steering committee that met in Hawaii to address this need. The result is the First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas.
The primary focus of the First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas will be on highly mobile cetaceans with the theme of “making connections.” This focus will facilitate both the formal and informal connections between MPAs that share common species, populations, threats, and other issues. Presentations on specific themes or issues of common concern will be offered to a broad audience. Training sessions on key topics that practitioners can implement immediately will also be offered on a space available basis. Smaller breakout or invitational workshop sessions will make use of the opportunity to advance key issues of interest to all.
Our attendees are concerned about the protection of marine mammals both locally, within a specific marine mammal protected area, and globally. The First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas will bring together MPA managers, scientists, and educators from around the world. Attendees will engage in sessions that will provide an eff ective forum for sharing information on approaches to marine mammal management and conservation.
FOCUS AND THEME
The primary focus of the First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas will be on highly mobile cetaceans with the theme of “making connections.” This focus will facilitate both the formal and informal networking of MPAs that share common species, populations, threats, and other issues. The conference will include presentations and workshops on key themes and issues of common concern but will also offer training sessions on key topics that attendees can implement immediately.