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ESEP
Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

    ESEP prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00190

    Healing the wounds of marine mammals by protecting their habitat

    Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Erich Hoyt

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) – “discrete habitat areas, important for one or more marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation” were introduced in 2014 by the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force to support marine mammal and wider ocean conservation. IMMAs provide decision-makers with an user-friendly, actionable tool to inform them of the whereabouts of habitat important for marine mammal survival. However, in view of their non-prescriptive, evidence-based and biocentric nature, the conservation effectiveness of IMMAs is strictly dependent on the politicians’ willingness to make use of them. It has been the customary task of advocacy NGOs to lobby decision-makers to stimulate respect for environmental law, but the scientific community is increasingly joining this effort. Scientists can effectively strengthen a healthy relationship between scientific objectivity and political advocacy without damaging the credibility of conservation science. Thus, those undertaking the identification of IMMAs can be among the strong advocates of those responsible for the implementation of IMMAs and other conservation initiatives.