Dominica has placed almost 800 square kilometers of sea off the west coast of the country under protection specifically for sperm whales. This will be the world's first marine sanctuary specifically for the species.
Less than 500 individuals of the endangered sperm whale are believed to still live in the waters around the island.
The almost 800 square kilometer protection zone west of the island is to include important breeding and feeding areas for these deep-diving marine mammals.
The government’s decision is an important step towards sperm whale conservation but is also actively contributing to climate protection: Sperm whales play an important role in helping to keep the ocean healthy.
The greatest threat to the Caribbean sperm whales comes from ships, fishing nets and marine pollution. The sanctuary can better protect the large whales from these dangers with the government announcing plans to designate a shipping lane to avoid collisions, restrict fishing activities and also regulate whale watching tours more strictly.
‘Any protected area for whales and dolphins is an important and right step - not only for the marine mammals themselves, but for the entire ecosystem in which they live. Now, however, the Dominican government must not fail to actually implement the announced regulations on fishing and shipping, says Tamara Narganes-Homfeldt, WDC marine biologist.