ICMMPA Daily Log
Day Four – April 2, 2009

MPAs and MPA Networks vs. “Traditional” Marine Mammal Management Tools – Are they Alternatives or to be Integrated?

Panel convener: Randall Reeves, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group, Canada

Michael Simpkins, NOAA Fisheries, Office of International Affairs, USA

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Honorary President, Tethys Research Institute, Milano, Italy

Liz Slooten, Otago University, NZ

Karin Forney, NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center, USA

Tundy Agardy, South Seas, USA

Sue Miller-Taei, Conservation International, Samoa

Mike Donoghue, Department of Conservation, NZ

Randall Reeves convened a panel to explore the relationship between the use of protected areas/networks and other “traditional” approaches to marine mammal conservation.  Protected area designations should bring added conservation value above and beyond that derived from other tools, however, when these traditional approaches do not achieve the conservation objectives, there may be good justification for establishing a protected area or network of protected areas, either as an alternative to other approaches or as part of an integrated mix of approaches.

Training 1 & 2: Stranding, Entanglement and Health Assessment

Teri Rowles, Director of Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, USA

David Mattila, NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, USA

Ed Lyman, NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, USA

Overview: This training focused on what managers and scientists can learn from stranded marine mammals (e.g. abundance, composition and seasonality of species, human impacts, indicators of environmental change, and health and emerging diseases) and a discussion of what it takes to develop and sustain a stranding response program in a MMPA and how to integrate these efforts beyond borders through regional, national, or international networks.  The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was used as an example of a program in development.  Recent developments in assessing the health of free-swimming whales were also highlighted.

Detail: For many marine mammal protected areas (MMPAs), even those that have good access to vessels, the coastline is often their primary means of “contact” with their MMPA.  As such, much of what they can learn about the marine mammals that depend on their areas, and very often their first warning that something may be wrong, washes ashore as stranded marine mammals.  This part of this session focused on presenting an overview of what managers and scientists can learn from stranded marine mammals (e.g. abundance, composition and seasonality of species, human impacts, indicators of environmental change, and health and emerging diseases….etc.).   This was followed by a discussion of what it can take to develop and sustain a stranding response program in a MMPA, as well as how to integrate this into efforts beyond their borders (where appropriate), through regional, national or international networks.  Preparedness for marine mammal emergencies was also covered.

More than 300,000 cetaceans die every year entangled in manmade ropes and net around the world.  For large whales this is a very cryptic event, often not witnessed, its origin unknown, as the animals can become entangled thousands of miles from where they are first reported or found dead.  But wherever this issue it is investigated, its true occurrence is routinely an order of magnitude greater than previously thought.  This session will present methods to assess the magnitude of, and mitigate the problem, through fishing modification and special rescue techniques now used in well trained networks in some parts of the world.   Results from these established networks shed further light on the origins, causes and ultimately prevention of this issue, which is considered to be the single greatest human cause of mortality for many cetacean populations.  In addition, new health assessment techniques for free-swimming whales have arisen out of this effort, and were discussed.

During the last part of the session, breakout groups were formed to discuss the following:

 What is the current capacity or model for networking for emergency response, strandings or entanglements?

 How do you currently handle situations?

 How do you address the cultural considerations dealing with emergency responses?

 What are the impediments to integrated MMPA emergency response or stranding networks?

 How do we move forward to collectively build capacity for networks of MMPAs to address stranding, entanglement, other emergency response, and health issues?

Criteria for Marine Mammal Critical Habitat to make MPA Networks more Effective

Convenor:  Ana Cañadas, Head of Science of Alnitak Marine Research Center, Spain


Randall Reeves, Chair of the UICN Species Survival Subcommittee Cetacean Specialist Group, Canada

David Hyrenbach, Lecturer at the University of Hawaii. Pew Fellow, USA

Colleen Corrigan, UNEP WCMC Cambridge, UK

Sascha Hooker, Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Ana Cañadas, Head of Science of Alnitak Marine Research Center, Spain           

Jeffrey Polovina, Acting Director, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. Central Pacific Node Manager

For ocean travelers, like far ranging marine mammals, sea turtles and sea birds, adequate management at scales comparable to the spatial and nutritional requirements of these species is important.  For example, loggerhead turtles nest on the beaches of Florida and circle the Atlantic following the Gulf Stream, using different habitats and concentrating in different sites of the Atlantic and Mediterranean during various stages of their lives.

More specifically, ecologically-designed MPA networks will have to accommodate the life history of these species and the dynamics of their oceanographic habitats if they are to contribute to the conservation of wide-ranging species.

What is critical habitat for MPAs designed specifically for marine mammals? How do we define it? What criteria do we use? How do we create effective MPAs given the demands of time and funding for studies versus the urgency of taking action for conservation? What is the minimum data required to identify critical habitat? These are some of the questions that were addressed in this workshop, which took us from descriptive tools to the spatial modeling tools available at present. 

Getting stakeholders to talk to each other: improving the process

Convenor: Ricardo Sagarminaga, President of the ALNITAK Marine Research and Education Centre


Ricardo Sagarminaga, ALNITAK, Spain

Miguel Iñíguez, Fundación Cethus, Argentina

Deborah Benham, Dolphin Space Programme, WDCS, UK 

Olive Andrews, IFAW Asia Pacific, Samoa

Mick McIntyre, International Director, Whales Alive, Australia

Philippe Robert, PELAGOS Sanctuary, France

Ana Tejedor, Chair for the Environment, UNESCO, Spain

Mike Donoghue, New  Zealand IWC delegation, New Zealand

Mike Bossley, WDCS and Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, Australia

Elsa Cabrera, CCC, Chile

Workshop goal: The aim of this workshop was to initiate a discussion among people dealing with the issue of communication and involvement with stakeholders in MPAs for marine mammals, in order to exchange perspectives and experiences.

Summary: The efficacy of Marine Protected Areas for the conservation of highly mobile species as most marine mammals has been subject to much debate over the last decades.  Among the key factors that have been highlighted critical for ensuring that MPAs work as an effective conservation mechanism we can find that of stakeholder involvement.

Whereas the solutions to other crucial factors, as adequate design, management and monitoring usually boil down to relatively simple issues of science and finance, stakeholder involvement can be much more challenging to grasp, especially on a long-term basis.

Stakeholder identification, communication strategies and tools, building trust, maintaining interest and positive momentum, avoiding conflicts, giving a sense of responsibility and ownership, management and consultation coordination structures, finding win-win solutions, etc. are some of the themes that come up as we try to reach the ideal of consensus management, which in the case of MPAs often appears as essential, given the economic and logistical challenges of enforcing regulations in the open ocean.

Creating Regulations that Actually Work: Enforcement vs. Education

Convenors: Lisa Van Atta, Assistant Regional Administrator for the Protected Resources Division of NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) and,

Anne Walton, Coordinator for the NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ International MPA Capacity Building Program

Enforcement in MMPAs

The first part of the workshop was an interactive discussion of marine mammal protective regulations that work and/or could be improved, with examples invited from different countries.

Interpretive Enforcement: Building Awareness to Change Human Behavior in MPAs

The final two-hour workshop provided a complementary approach to Lisa Van Atta’s workshop on rules, regulations and enforcement. This training-style workshop took a look at some successful long term models to affect behavioral change through the use of peer to peer on-the-water outreach. Through the analysis of case studies and the use of interactive exercises, workshop participants learned some of the key steps in developing an interpretive enforcement program for their MPA.