Mohammed A. Abu
Makame O. Makame, a Director of Marine Conservation Department of the Zanzibar Ministry of Blue Economy & Fisheries, has lauded the Self-Assessment Tool(SAT) a component of Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, for having made the country to understand their current capabilities and limitations in Marine Protected Area(MPA) management.
Supported by the factsheets, the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) enables MPA managers to assess the extent to which marine mammals are included in their respective management plans.
To this end, Mr. Makame disclosed that, the Ministry has planned various activities that will help to improve upon their management framework on marine mammal conservation.
The activities he said included, a future plan of launching, whale tourism, establishing a sanctuary for dolphins in the country’s marine Biodiversity Conservation Area(MBCA) among others.
SAT, he said was an invaluable tool in MPA management that helped them to understand the existing situation, and is indeed an eye opener tool that helped them to understand better marine mammal conservation.
“The tool is very important. We need it” he intimated
Mr. Makame was speaking on Thursday during and hour and half long international webinar on Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, in West Africa intended to introduce the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, an innovative tool for effectively managing marine mammals in and around MPAs.
The Marine Mammal Twinning, part of the EU-funded Ocean Governance Project, hosted the webinar in collaboration with the Abidjan Convention and the Regional Partnership for the Conservation of the Coastal and Marine Zone (PRCM).
The toolkit is being developed within the framework of the “Marine mammals, a way to enhance cooperation between Marine Protected Areas” twinning is part of the Ocean Governance project
Held under the theme, “Towards effective management of marine mammals in West Africa: The Marine Mammals Management Toolkit.”, the webinar drew over seventy international participants
Western African Aquatic Mammals
The introduction of the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit comes on the back of the MOU on Western African Mammals which was concluded under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and came into effect on 3 October 2008.
It will remain open for signature indefinitely. It aims to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for manatees and small cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia and their habitats and to safeguard the associated values of these species for the people of the region.
Various threats, including direct and accidental catch, coastal development, pollution and habitat degradation, have caused West African marine mammal populations to decline rapidly.
These issues require action at a national, regional and global level. Efforts to protect marine mammals and raise awareness of their conservation needs include the convening of meetings, the undertaking of studies and field activities, the adoption of legal instruments, as well as the development of international agreements.