ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyors create Important Marine Mammal Areas


As some of you may have already seen, it has been announced that the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force has just approved 33 new Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the North East Atlantic and Baltic Sea. This is fantastic news for our whales, dolphins and porpoises right on our doorstep, and we are delighted to let you know that data collected by YOU - our incredible Marine Mammal Surveyor network was integral to this process.

IMMAs are defined as discrete portions of habitat, important to marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. Back in May last year, Lucy and Anna from ORCA HQ were invited to the Northeast Atlantic and Baltic Sea IMMA workshop in Hamburg. Armed with powerful Marine Mammal Surveyor data, we were able to put forward compelling and strong evidence for areas that we know are important for cetaceans; ORCA's data in particular went into submissions for the Bay of Biscay, North Sea, English Channel, Hebrides and Celtic Seas. Two of the IMMAs that we drove forward for designation were the Biscay Shelf edge and Slope IMMA and the Southern Biscay Canyon System IMMA; we are so excited that these areas have the formal recognition they deserve! We will now work hard to drive forward protection measures for these areas.

Again, this highlights the value of not only our Marine Mammal Surveyor Network but of citizen science as a whole!

You can read more on our website: https://orca.org.uk/news-blog/orcas-citizen-scientist-evidence-helps-create-new-important-marine-mammal-areas

To have a look at the IMMA e-atlas, please visit this link: https://www.marinemammalhabitat.org/imma-eatlas/

We cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work in collecting the vital data that was so integral to this process. Well done!