Another expert regional workshop to identify Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) has just been completed in Perth, Australia. The week-long workshop (10-14 February 2020) hosted 31 marine mammal scientists and observers from six countries, who together mapped the important habitats for marine mammals in the waters of Australia, New Zealand and the South East Indian Ocean.
A total of 45 candidate IMMAs were identified, along with one area of interest (AoI) which will be retained as a potential future IMMA pending further research. Fourteen candidate IMMAs are in New Zealand waters, and 31 in Australian waters. Several of the candidate IMMAs extend into the high seas, beyond countries’ exclusive economic zones. The candidate IMMAs will be assessed by an independent review panel. Once approved, they will be placed on the IMMA eAtlas, and will be available to use for conservation planning.
The IMMA workshop in Perth – convened by the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force – follows successful IMMA regional workshops in the Mediterranean, Pacific Islands, Northeast Indian Ocean-Southeast Asian Seas, the Extended Southern Ocean, and the Western Indian Ocean-Arabian Seas over the past four years.