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New Important Marine Mammal Areas added to global ocean conservation list

Commerson's dolphin
Commerson's dolphin

Experts from a number of countries have mapped out a new set of Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the South West Atlantic Ocean, from the Guianas, north of the Brazilian Amazon, to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

IMMAs are essentially portions of ocean important to marine mammal species that have the potential to be set aside for conservation management.

The South West Atlantic Ocean (SWATLO) region features southern right whales, humpback whales and sei whales, some of which travel from Antarctica to this region. There are also species endemic to the region including the Commerson’s dolphin, the vulnerable franciscana dolphin and Lahille’s bottlenose dolphin, and the near threatened Guiana dolphin.

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.

The addition of these latest 33 important areas brings the number of IMMAs worldwide to 242, and coverage now exceeds 70% of the world ocean. The new IMMAs resulted from a year-long process, including an intensive week-long scientific workshop last December assessing and presenting data on candidate areas. The IMMA initiative is a partnership between WDC the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force and Tethys Research Institute.

You can find out more about all the IMMA locations via the IMMA e-Atlas.

For more information on the importance of IMMAs  - CLICK HERE