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ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative: a challenging macro synoptic regional assessment of cetaceans populations for the benefit of regional conservation and economic actors
by ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area) (Intergovernmental organization)
The Mediterranean and the Black Seas are exceptionally rich and diverse regarding marine megafauna and regularly or occasionally host more than 20 species of cetaceans, about half of which are considered threatened. Subject to high anthropogenic pressures, cetacean populations benefit from particular attention from riparian States, willing to better coordinate their actions in their favor.

The Permanent Secretariat to the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Adjacent Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS), will carry out the ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative (ASI) aiming at strengthening the governance conditions affecting cetacean species in order to reach and / or maintain these species and their habitats in a state of favorable conservation. Financial support will be provided by private donors (MAVA Foundation and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation) and the ACCOBAMS Parties.

In coordination and with the support of riparian countries and local scientists, the ASI will lead to the establishment of an integrated, collaborative and coordinated surveillance system for the status of cetacean populations. Such a tool is crucial in assessing the effectiveness of conservation efforts of local actors, and it will support national efforts to meet their commitments under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Ecosystem Approach implemented by the Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP).

The collaborative and scientifically solidarity-based approach of this project will lead to a strengthening of the regional network of experts, in particular through the mobilization of an international task force for the 2018 Summer Survey campaign, and numerous capacity building actions for local actors and authorities in the surveillance of cetacean in their waters. The results of the survey will be cross-referenced with existing data on relevant indicators and will lead to 1/ confirmation of existing area of interest and identification of new ones (cetacean critical habitats) and 2/ promote, support and improve national or transnational systems and procedures for the conservation of cetaceans, including MPAs.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
December 2018
Assessment of distribution, density and abundance of cetacean populations
July 2018
Synoptic Survey campaign
June 2020
Publication of the Status report on the state of conservation of cetaceans and peer-reviewed publications
November 2019
Adoption of Resolutions during ACCOBAMS MOP7 based on scientific results
Financing (in USD)
1,900,000 USD
In-kind contribution
equipments for the campaign (boats)
Staff / Technical expertise
local scientists, technical staff and ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat staff
Basic information
Time-frame: January 2017 - June 2020
The 24 Contracting Parties to the ACCOBAMS and the range States of the Mediterranean and Black Seas
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Scientists, National stakeholders, MPA managers, Whale Watching tourism stakeholders, International Organizations addressing maritime, biodiversity and/or marine resources conservation issues.
Contact information
Susana SALVADOR, Executive Secretary, accobams@accobams.net, +377 98 98 20 78
Monaco, Principality of Monaco
Other SDGs
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