Workshop on Cooperation of Marine Mammal Sanctuaries

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I), is organizing a regional workshop on Marine Mammal Sanctuary cooperation in the Caribbean on St. Maarten on June 4 and 5, to bring together marine mammal protection efforts in neighboring countries.


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These include the French "Agoa" Marine Mammal Sanctuary comprising all the waters around the French islands, the Marine Mammal Sanctuary of the Dominican Republic (Silver Banks), which is the main calving area for humpback whales in the Caribbean, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in the USA, summer feeding grounds for the Caribbean humpback whales, and the marine mammal sanctuary initiative for the Caribbean Netherlands. Other participants in the workshop are various marine mammal experts from Aruba, Curaçao, Venezuela, the Netherlands, and the USA, and the Regional Activity Center for the SPAW Protocol.


The objective of the workshop is:

· To develop joint initiatives and programs for marine mammal research and conservation, support regional data collection efforts and standardization.

· To share information on marine mammal populations and management experiences and practices.

· To pursue regular discussions with one another through meetings such as this one.

EEZ Committee

The establishment of a Marine Mammal Sanctuary in Dutch Caribbean waters, linking to similar initiatives in the neighboring waters, is a recommendation of the Dutch Caribbean Committee for Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries (EEZ Committee). As member and Secretary of the EEZ committee the Ministry of EL&I supports this recommendation and is organizing this workshop to bring the various regional partners together. The workshop is also an implementation of the Marine Mammal Action Plan (MMAP) for the Caribbean, adopted by the SPAW Protocol (the regional Pact for special species and areas), which has as one of its priorities the designation and declaration of marine protected areas for marine mammals, including transboundary cooperation to help maintain ecological connections.