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France, Italy and Monaco : Notable progress for the protection of cetaceans

29-10-2009-


The three member states of the agreement setting up the Pelagos Sanctuary Pelagos : The PELAGOS Sanctuary, located in an area of 87 500 km2 in the Northern basin of the western Mediterranean, was set up by the international agreement for marine mammals in the Mediterranean, signed on 25th November 1999 in Rome by France, Italy and Monaco.
The purpose of the Sanctuary is to implement joint activities among the member countries for the protection of cetaceans and their habitat against all types of threats and disturbances, whether of natural origin (climate change, epidemics, …) or human origin (fishing, noise, urbanisation, pollution, collisions, accidental capture, …).
for the protection of marine mammals met in Monaco from 19th to 21st October 2009 during the fourth meeting of the parties.

Based on the work of expert groups and the Scientific and Technical Committee, ten recommendations to the three states were approved by the Conference. These recommendations aim to eliminate or curb the impact of certain human activities (fishing, noise disturbance, pollutants, maritime traffic and the movement of fast motor vehicles), to increase scientific research with the publication of results, to standardise offshore monitoring measures as well as raise public awareness.

The three states have decided to create a quality label concerning cetacean watching activities geared towards tourists. The decision was made based on a legal study jointly sponsored by the ACCOBAMS ACCOBAMS : Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area, placed under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme secretariat conducted by an expert from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. The label, on a voluntary basis, is aimed at promoting this economic activity without causing harm to the cetacean population. The labelling process will be subject to compliance with guidelines and will include a training module for operators.

Based on the results of its upcoming implementation in the Pelagos pilot area, the label will be proposed to all countries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions at the ACCOBAMS contracting parties meeting which is being held in Monaco in November 2010.

In order to raise public awareness, the three states have set up a partnership charter between the local authorities and Pelagos. This charter will not only commit municipalities to intensifying their good practice concerning the conservation of cetaceans but will enable them, with the technical support of the Agreement's organisations, to benefit from this brand image in their activities.
    The three contracting parties have also discussed the legal and administrative form of the Agreement’s permanent secretariat in Genoa. As the French Agency for marine protected areas has completed its interim mission to house the permanent secretariat, Italy has agreed to put forward a proposal that the other two parties will examine before the end of 2009.

    The national delegations were composed of representatives of the Ministries in charge of Foreign Affairs, the Environment and the Sea, as well as representatives of territorial collectivises and scientific and technical experts. ACCOBAMS and RAMOGE representatives took part in the meeting as observers.
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