Towards understanding the overlap of selected threats and Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) across the Mediterranean Sea


IMMAs are a place-based conservation tool implemented by the IUCN Joint SSC/WCPA Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force (the “Task Force”), identifying discrete portions of habitat, important to marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. The identification of IMMAs is a robust, evidence-driven, purely biocentric process based on the application of scientific criteria and on the best available science, and is subjected to peer review.

With Resolution 12.13 (2017) the Convention on Migratory Species acknowledged the IMMA criteria and process, and requested Parties and invited Range States to identify specific areas where the identification of IMMAs could be beneficial.

In 2016 the Task Force organised an expert workshop to identify IMMAs in the Mediterranean in partnership with ACCOBAMS. During the past several years the Parties and the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS have been engaged in identifying Cetacean Critical Habitats (CCHs). In the context of cetacean conservation and management in the ACCOBAMS area, it is important to incorporate the concept of actual and/or potential human activities and threats at the population level to address the actual ‘critical’ aspect. This concept is appropriate to facilitate optimum management strategies as well as threat mitigation from impacts on marine mammals.

This workshop intends to support the ongoing ACCOBAMS effort to map specific threats to cetaceans in the ACCOBAMS area by overlaying the Mediterranean IMMAs with the available area-explicit information on shipping and seismic surveys, thereby allowing the identification of new CCH in the ACCOBAMS area, and facilitating the implementation of sustainable conservation actions at the regional level.



  • Update the preliminary assessment of perceived expert conservation concern for marine mammals within the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Collect additional area-explicit information and understanding of pressures exerted on marine mammals by shipping and seismic surveys.
  • Map overlaps between IMMAs and shipping and seismic surveys using the available information.



  • Prepare a report of the workshop’s results to be transmitted to the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS, for their consideration.
  • Further elaborate the results of the workshop to support the Task Force in planning a successive effort of considering IMMAs in a context of existing pressures to marine mammals, planned at the 2019 International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA5), Greece, April 2019.


Final Report :  PDF download Accobams