The International Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals. IUCN and WWF High Seas Marine Protected Areas Workshop 15-17 January 2003 - Malaga, Spain. W hat is the S anctuary?.
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The International Sanctuary forMediterranean Marine Mammals
IUCN and WWF
High Seas Marine Protected Areas Workshop
15-17 January 2003 - Malaga, Spain
A large protected area (about 90.000 km2), including shallow coastal and deep pelagic habitats, comprising the territorial waters of France, Italy, and Monaco, and the Mediterranean high seas.
The impetus for the creation of the sanctuary was provided in the late 1980s by the obvious lack of legal instruments to protect the Mediterranean high seas, particularly in view of:
1. Scientific findings
Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., M.C. Venturino, M. Zanardelli, G. Bearzi, F. Borsani, B. Cavalloni, E. Cussino, M. Jahoda, S. Airoldi. 1990. Distribution and relative abundance of cetaceans in the Central Mediterranean Sea. pp. 41-43 in Proc. 4th Annual Meeting of the European Cetacean Society, Palma de Mallorca, 2-4 March 1990.
Forcada, J., A. Aguilar, P. Hammond, X. Pastor, R. Aguilar. 1996. Distribution and abundance of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the western Mediterranean during the summer. Journal of Zoology, London 238:23-34.
Why are cetaceans so abundant?
Oceanographic studies revealed the presence in the area of a permanent frontal system, and consequent upwellings of deep, nutrient-rich waters.
Such presence of nutrients at the surface allows substantial primary productivity in the area, in striking contrast with most of the Mediterranean pelagic domain
the main Mediterranean euphausiid
Most of the habitat of these pelagic cetacean species rests in international waters, beyond 12 n.m. from the coast.
In the Mediterranean Sea, where Exclusive Economic Zones (up to 200 n.m. from the coast) have not been created, management and conservation of high seas resources are problematic.
towards the end of the 1980s it had become increasingly clear that novel initiatives in the field of international law were necessary to protect Mediterranean cetaceans
A brief history of the sanctuary