Conservation of cetaceans and manatees in Western Africa

A new publication on cetaceans and manatees in the Western African region has just been published by CMS. The publication is a compilation of articles presented at the scientific symposium ‘Western African Talks on Cetaceans and their Habitats (WATCH)’ held in Adeje, Tenerife in 2007. The document includes detailed information on marine mammals of the African eastern Atlantic basin, a region from which cetaceans are poorly known.

At the same meeting a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Small Cetaceans and Manatees of West Africa’ was developed. The signatory Governments agreed ‘to work closely together in the region and to foster cooperation, build capacity and ensure coordinated region-wide actions to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for manatees and small cetaceans and their habitats and to safeguard the associated values of these species for the people of the region’.

An ‘Action Plan for the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia’ was also developed at the scientific symposium. The Action Plan attempts to balance the interests of local communities and fishermen and the socio-economic development of the region, with the need to reduce or eliminate threats to cetaceans and their habitats in order to ensure their conservation.

The scientific symposium, MoU, Action Plan have brought much needed attention to the assessment and conservation of the small-cetacean fauna of the eastern tropical Atlantic.

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