IMMA Focus Group at 4th International Marine Conservation Congress

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article on the IAGC website:

“IMMA Focus Group at 4th International Marine Conservation Congress IMCC Saturday, July 30, 2016 – Thursday, August 04, 2016

– Focus group on integrating marine mammal behavioral monitoring techniques into the process for the identification of Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs)

 Integrating marine mammal behavioral monitoring techniques into the process for the identification of Important Marine Mammal Areas

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (YYT), Canada, Sunday July 29, Held in association with the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC), July 30 – August 4, 2016

This IMMA focus group aims to address the following question: How can we better integrate marine mammal behavioral data, observed through direct observation or remote monitoring techniques, into the process for identifying IMMAs?

Information on marine mammal behavior is a necessary component of the evidence available for enhancing their protection by informing the development of marine management and spatial planning practices. It is essential that such data and methodologies, such as photo-identification and satellite tracking, are considered in a systematic way during the application of selection criteria to identify Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs). IMMAs are a new strategic classification for enhancing future marine planning and conservation measures for these species as developed by the IUCN Joint SSC/WCPA Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force (IUCN-MMPATF). Moreover, behavioral data must be considered in a manner that complements and enhances existing approaches based on ecological studies, distribution and abundance, genetic analyses, and expert opinion.

The goal of this IMMA focus group is to advance this work by examining how data and information on marine mammal behavioral information can be effectively collated and communicated to experts during the process of identifying IMMAs. Results of this workshop will also contribute towards the creation of an IMMA Toolkit, which will become the primary scientific guidance for the identification of IMMAs, and will be presented formally at the 4th International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA4) in Mexico, November 13 – 17, 2016.

Please register your interest to participate by emailing the IUCN-MMPATF organisers at before the IMCC early registration deadline of May 8.

For further information about the main IMCC event please see the congress mini-site at

As space for participants will be limited please include your reasons for wanting to attend as well as your professional background in relation to the IMMA initiative, spatial planning, or behavioral monitoring of marine mammals. Unfortunately the IUCN-MMPATF is unable to provide funding for participant registration fees or expenses for attending the focus group or main conference.

For further information about the IMMA initiative please visit the IUCN-MMPATF home and facebook pages at and

Click here for the relevant IAGC website.

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