Bay of Biscay no closer to IMMA designation

30th Nov 2017

Fin whales in the Bay of Biscay are just one of the species who would benefit from the additional protection of an IMMA designation

The Bay of Biscay is known to be one of the top five places in the world to see whales and dolphins, and has the richest diversity of species of any region surveyed by ORCA teams.

However, despite this work there is still little progress in recognising this part of the ocean as an Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA), a critical step in helping to safeguard the habitat and action ORCA thinks is critical in helping to protect European cetaceans.

IMMAs are a designation that recognises the critical importance of a habitat to marine mammals and are identified using rigorous scientific evidence to draw attention to areas that need special protections.

The designation is made by the Marine Mammal Protected Areas Taskforce (MMPATF), which includes a number of foundations and institutions and is led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Though it has no legal weighting, IMMAs are an important recognition of the biodiversity of a habitat and help to highlight critical threats from shipping and fishing in a sea region.

To learn more about IMMAs, visit the MMPATF website here