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A Geospatial Analysis of Vessel Traffic in Important Marine Mammal Areas. 409pp
OceanMind, WWF, IUCN and IWC
International Whaling Commission
In April 2019, the IUCN MMPA Task Force, IWC and ACCOBAMS jointly hosted a workshop to evaluate how the data and process used to identify Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) can assist the IWC to systematically identify areas of high risk for ship strike, a key goal of the Commission’s Strategic Plan. The workshop report generated a number of recommendations, including the following: ‘the IWC working with the IUCN MMPA Task Force and the CMS and its daughter agreements, undertake an initial analysis of global IMMAs, overlaid with shipping data, to identify potential high risk areas….’. This report represents a response to that recommendation, providing a first broad-scale overview of the
potential risk that marine traffic poses to marine mammals within the these areas. The report is divided into two main parts: 1) a broad-scale overview of vessel activity in each of the 114 IMMAs identified to date; and 2) two case studies
that examine the nature of vessel traffic and co-occurrence with marine mammal distribution on a finer scale in two IMMAs that were selected on a number of agreed criteria. These case studies include some recommendations for practical ways to address the identified risks, as well the need for further research to better inform these types of AIS and GIS-based risk assessments.