Identifying these key areas of habitat vital to the recovery of great whale species – Important Marine Mammal Areas, or IMMAs – represent a vital step towards the establishment of protected areas for large cetaceans.
Since 2013, WDC has been collaborating with international NGOs to identify and prioritise these IMMAs, which are recognized by many international bodies, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Whaling Commission. During the last year, they have helped to identify 36 IMMAs and 41 candidate IMMAs, in the Southeast Tropical and Temperate Pacific Ocean and Southwest Atlantic Ocean.
The Southeast Pacific provides important habitats for sizeable populations of blue, fin and gray whales, plus humpback whales that migrate there from the far North Pacific and the Antarctic every year. The Southwest Atlantic Ocean is home to significant populations of southern right whales, as well as humpback whales and others that travel from the Antarctic.