While much of the world has been contending with the trials of a viral pandemic, GOBI colleagues and members of the Marine Mammal Protected Area Task Force have been busy reviewing candidate IMMA proposals from two recent regional IMMA workshops, as well as revamping the online repository of IMMA-related information. Their efforts have not been in vain, and they have now approved and published 43 new IMMAs: 30 in waters around Australia and New Zealand, and 13 in the Southern Ocean*. This brings the total number of IMMAs in the world to 158, most located in the southern hemisphere. In addition to the newly approved IMMAs, there are 3 candidate IMMAs and 21 Areas of Interest in both regions that are either undergoing further evaluation or require additional data to support their status.
Information on IMMAs old and new, the criteria on which they are defined, their location and their extent, can all be found on the updated IMMA eAtlas and interactive database. Also, a newly published article on IMMAs eruditely advocates for their recognition and use by political decision makers.
Progress on GOBI’s IMMA work programme has been affected by the viral pandemic, delaying the scheduled IMMA workshop covering the south-eastern Pacific Ocean, which was due to take place in September 2020. Every effort is being made to accommodate this workshop as soon as circumstances allow.
* The Southern Ocean IMMA workshop was not funded by the GOBI-IKI work programme.