Berlin, June 2012
M.E.E.R. has recently published a new scientific report constituting another milestone of the scientific work of our association. The report lays out the model of a marine protected area (MPA) for sustainable whale watching in the waters off La Gomera (Canary Islands).
New Scientific Report Published
Berlin, June 2012. M.E.E.R. has recently published a new scientific report constituting another milestone of the scientific work of our association. The report lays out the model of a marine protected area (MPA) for sustainable whale watching in the waters off La Gomera (Canary Islands).
The report is based on 15 years of best practice and cetacean research in collaboration with whale watching operators on La Gomera – especially the close teamwork with OCEANO La Gomera. In this way, the project MEER La Gomera build up a unique set of long-term data, which almost exclusively was collected from whale watching vessels. In June, the report was presented to the scientific committee at this year’s IWC Scientific Committee meeting in Panama, where it was commended as an important document showing the significance of research conducted from whale watching vessel with relation to management.
Simultaneously, the report was sent to the competent authorities in Madrid, to the environmental administrations of the Canary Islands and to La Gomera’s National Park Office as well as its local government.
Based on the profound knowledge about the biology and ecology of more than 20 cetacean species located in the area, the report describes why successful marine conservation must be grounded on a comprehensive framework and how this should look like. It spotlights the individual preconditions of La Gomera with regard to the constitution of an MPA for cetaceans with a view to further develop sustainable whale watching tourism. All stakeholders (e.g. fishermen, tourists and local people, authorities, ngos, etc.) are taken into consideration appropriately and necessary measures to regulate the multiple uses of the environment are recommended. This regulatory basis hence shall guarantee both ecological and economical sustainability.
Specific Recommendations For Action
Its specific recommendations for action are the heart of the new report, as they represent a frame for management of the planned MPA. Important aspects like the ecosystem approach, the precautionary principle and the involvement of all stakeholders are integrated into the concept. Furthermore, suggestions concerning, monitoring, enforcement, financing of the MPA and future research are made.
The report aims at the protection of the entire marine ecosystem off la Gomera and thus the conservation of all dolphin and whale species.
Finally, the report is also designed to be a blueprint for the establishment of similar MPAs for cetaceans in European waters and worldwide. It thus holds the potential to be put into practice wherever whale watching is taking place and better cetacean protection is warranted. The report therefore can be seen as an important instrument for the implementation of marine protected areas and the management of whale watching tourism.
More information & download of the entire report (pdf file)