PostHeaderIcon Sixth Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS

The ACCOBAMS Secretariat is pleased to inform you that, thanks to the support provided by the Government of H.S.H. the Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Sixth Meeting of the Parties will be held in MONACO, in the context of the 20th Anniversary of the signature of the ACCOBAMS, from:

Tuesday 22nd to Friday 25th November 2016


Hotel NOVOTEL, Monaco

The Meeting will be opened at 9.00 am on Tuesday 22nd November

PostHeaderIcon Funding opportunity – Whitley Awards 2017

The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is a UK registered charity offering Whitley Awards and ongoing support to outstanding nature conservationists around the developing world.
The awards are both an international prize and a form of project funding, currently £35.000 over one year.  The program is open to applicants from grassroots conservation NGOs incorporated in developing countries that are rich in biodiversity.
WFN invites applications for projects that conserve freshwater and marine ecosystems in addition to those that conserve terrestrial biodiversity.
The application deadline is 31 October 2016.

PostHeaderIcon Opening Position: “ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative” Project Officer

The Secretariat of ACCOBAMS, based in Monaco, ensures the coordination of the Agreement implementation and provides assistance to the Contracting Parties. In this context, the Secretariat is working on the development of an initiative aimed at responding to the ACCOBAMS strategic objective on improving the understanding of the conservation status of cetaceans at the Mediterranean/Black Sea macroregional level (the “ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative” – ASI).

One of the objective of the ASI is to establish a baseline framework to assess cetaceans abundance and distribution at the macroregional level. A synoptic survey will be carried out in summer 2017 across the Agreement area combining visual survey methods (boat- and ship-based surveys) and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) with the participation of scientists of the whole area. When possible, data will be also collected for all species of species of conservation importance encountered (e.g. reptiles, fish, elasmobranchs…).

The overall coordination of the project is provided by the ACCOBAMS Secretariat, according to the mandate given by the Parties to ACCOBAMS, and under the guidance of a Steering Committee. A Scientific Coordinator will be involved in the project for specific tasks/actions related to the scientific aspects of the project.

The Project Officer will ensure the overall coordination of the “ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative” project. He/she will provide operational management of the project, under the general authority of the ACCOBAMS Executive Secretary and the supervision of the ACCOBAMS Project and Fundraising Officer. He/she will also liaise with the Scientific Coordinator.

This is a full-time position based in the Principality of Monaco, at the ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat.
The ASI Project Officer position is a fixed-term contract corresponding to the duration of the project (42 months), starting as soon as possible.

The full job description can be found in English or in French
Candidature deadline is October 2nd, 2016

PostHeaderIcon A new step in the international recognition of ACCOBAMS

Thursday, February 11 2016, in Athens, in the context of a ministerial conference, Ms. Descroix-Comanducci, Executive Secretary of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS ), signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Thiau Ibrahim, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.
Under this agreement, a regular dialogue is established with the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean on matters of political cooperation as the protection of marine areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction, or interactions with fishing and human activities generating threats to cetaceans and other, more technical. In particular ACCOBAMS sees himself confirmed in his leading role in the Ecosystem Approach of the Barcelona Convention, not only with regard to cetacean populations as indicators of the state of the marine environment but also to matters relating to the impact of noise known to have become a major concern for the conservation of living resources of our oceans.

PostHeaderIcon 2016 Call for Proposals

After consultation with the Bureau of the Parties, the ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat is pleased to inform you about the launch of a new call for proposals for projects to be funded under the ACCOBAMS Supplementary Conservation Fund (SCF).
In view to support contributions towards the implementation of the ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative, the projects proposed under this call for proposals should address the issues related to cetaceans distribution and abundance.
The applications should reach the ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat before 1st March 2016.



PostHeaderIcon Developing Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines for noise-generating offshore industries for the CMS Family

The Permanent Secretariat would like to inform you about the call for tenders which is up on the CMS (http://www.cms.int/en/about/organizational-structure/opportunities) and ASCOBANS (http://www.ascobans.org/en/page/secretariat) websites.

The deadline for submission of offers is 15 November.


PostHeaderIcon Crowdfunding to the rescue of whales

The REPCET system (Real-time Plotting of Cetaceans) was created by the NGO Souffleurs d’Ecume in the framework of the activities of the Pelagos Sanctuary. The collaborative system aims at reducing the risks of collisions between ships and large cetaceans, first cause of mortality for whales in the Mediterranean.

As a collaborative system, around 30 ships must be equipped with REPCET in the North-western Mediterranean for the system to be fully efficient. To spread this biodiversity conservation tool, the NGO can count on the support of a few pioneer companies already equipped but also on the support of the general public to equip more ships and thus demonstrate the usefulness of the system to shipping companies.

The KissKissBankBank platform was chosen to appeal to the generosity of the public. Anyone can give, starting from 5€, in exchange for compensations offered by the NGO going from an autographed picture of the team to the participation to a research programme at sea on Mediterranean marine mammals.

Within the 60-day fundraising period, the NGO hopes to collect a minimum of 35,000€, enough to equip 5 new ships and raise awareness among shipping companies. Each extra 7,000€ will allow to equip a new ship (material, annual subscription to the system and awareness raising efforts). A very beautiful animated movie introduces the project.

This campaign is complementary to efforts from different horizons in favour of the conservation of large cetaceans from ship strikes: ship owners, the State and its local authorities as well as NGOs such as WWF and the Fondation Nicolas Hulot which support the REPCET initiative.

Scientific organisation for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats





PostHeaderIcon EU LIFE + MIGRATE project's video

The Permanent Secretariat has been informed that the EU LIFE + MIGRATE project's video has been uploaded on the project website.

Please refer to either of the following links:



PostHeaderIcon 2015 ACCOBAMS Cetaceans Day

The Permanent Secretariat of ACCOBAMS will celebrate the first edition of the “ACCOBAMS Cetaceans Day” on June 5th, 2015. This annual initiative, enshrined in the ACCOBAMS Working Programme adopted by the Parties in November 2013, should be celebrated in the 23 Countries of the Agreement. It aims at raising awareness regarding the impacts of human activities on the conservation of cetaceans, particularly pollution by floating marine litter and underwater noise that significantly disrupt the life of cetaceans.
The Cetacean Day provides therefore an opportunity to educate the public and schools to these threats. The Department of the Environment, which implements ACCOBAMS Resolutions, joins this initiative. Information will be disseminated by the Office of Tourism and the Oceanographic Museum, an ACCOBAMS partner. This year, the main message is "Adopt a responsible behavior, particularly when you're on the boat by not disposing of your plastic waste and by not approaching cetaceans within 100 meters when you observe them. Cetacean conservation is everybody's business. "

Finally, the Fishermen Gallery in Monaco, hosts until June 8th, an exhibition of photographs of ACCOBAMS and its Partners, capturing extraordinary moments of the life of whales, orcas and dolphins. Not to be missed!

Le Secrétariat Permanent de l’ACCOBAMS célèbrera la première édition de la journée des cétacés de l’ACCOBAMS le 5 juin 2015. Cette initiative annuelle, inscrite dans le programme de travail de l’ACCOBAMS adopté par les pays Parties en novembre 2013, devrait être célébrée dans les 23 Pays de l’Accord. Elle vise à sensibiliser le public quant aux impacts des activités humaines sur la conservation des cétacés, en particulier les pollutions par les déchets flottants en mer et par le bruit sous-marin qui perturbent significativement le mode de vie des cétacés.

La Journée des Cétacés est donc l’occasion de sensibiliser le public et les écoles à ces menaces. La Direction de l’Environnement, qui met en œuvre les résolutions de l’ACCOBAMS,  s’associe à cette initiative. Des informations seront diffusées par l’Office du Tourisme et le Musée Océanographique, partenaire de l’ACCOBAMS. Le message principal de cet année est : « Adoptez donc un comportement responsable, en particulier lorsque vous êtes en bateau en ne jetant pas vos déchets plastiques et en ne vous approchant pas à moins de 100 mètres des cétacés lorsque vous les observez. La conservation des cétacés est l’affaire de tous ».

Enfin, la Galerie des Pêcheurs à Monaco, accueille jusqu’au 8 juin, une exposition de photographies de l’ACCOBAMS et de ses partenaires, capturant des instants exceptionnels de la vie de baleines, orques et dauphins. A ne pas manquer !


PostHeaderIcon Joint RAC/SPA, GFCM and ACCOBAMS Meeting on protection of marine areas in the Mediterranean and Black Sea


The Online Registration to the “Joint RAC/SPA, GFCM and ACCOBAMS Meeting on protection of marine areas in the Mediterranean and Black Sea” is now open and available on the following link:

This Joint Meeting, that will be held in Tunisia (Gammarth, RAMADA Plaza Hotel) from 9 to 12 June 2015, includes the following events:
-          the RAC/SPA SPAMI Conference,
-          the 2nd GFCM Working group on MPAs,
-          the ACCOBAMS workshop on the effectiveness of MPAs containing critical habitats of cetaceans.

For more information, please contact the ACCOBAMS Secretariat ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

L’enregistrement en ligne à la « Réunion conjointe CAR/ASP, CGPM et ACCOBAMS sur les aires marines de protection en Méditerranée et en mer Noire » est maintenant ouvert et accessible à l’adresse suivante :

Cette réunion conjointe, qui se déroulera en Tunisie (Gammarth, RAMADA Plaza Hotel) du 9 au 12 juin 2015, regroupe les évènements suivants :
-          la Conférence du CAR/ASP sur les ASPIMs
-          la deuxième réunion du Groupe de Travail de la CGPM sur les AMPs
-          l’atelier de l’ACCOBAMS sur l’efficacité des AMPs contenant des habitats critiques pour les cétacés.

Pour plus d’information, merci de vous rapprocher du Secrétariat de l’ACCOBAMS ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).



PostHeaderIcon Revealed north-south fin whales route across the Mediterranean, from strait of Sicily to Pelagos Sanctuary !




satellite tagging and tracking of Fin Whales specimens during winter season in the Strait of Sicily

Fin whales that live in the oceans are known to undergo seasonal migrations between the tropics and high-latitude waters, spanning thousands of  nautical miles. By contrast, movements of the population of fin whales residing in the Mediterranean remain still mostly unknown.
During summer, Mediterranean fin whales congregate in large numbers to feed in the Pelagos Sanctuary in the northwestern Mediterranean, the region’s largest marine protected area designated by France, Italy and Monaco to protect marine mammals. However, their destination during the rest of the year is still a matter of debate. Whales are also known to appear in other parts of the Mediterranean, including in the waters near Gibraltar as well as in the eastern basin, but their relationship to the whales found in the Pelagos Sanctuary remains unclear.
To shed light on the migration pattern of Mediterranean fin whales, the General Direction for Land and Sea Protection of the Italian Ministry of the Environment, in the framework of the implementation of the ACCOBAMS Agreement (www.accobams.org) has funded a specific project to the International Whaling Commission. The project aimed at deploying satellite tags on fin whales known to briefly appear in the waters surrounding the small Italian island of Lampedusa, in the Strait of Sicily, towards the end of winter (February-March).
The project was commissioned in order to obtain specific data and information on movements and possible migration routes of fin whales and on their habitats in the waters surrounding the island of Lampedusa, and to verify and confirm the previous limited sighting data, allowing  to correlate this information with those from the north-western Mediterranean within ​​the Pelagos Sanctuary.
The project is aimed in particular to the acquisition of information in the Strait of Sicily, an area characterized by the presence of B. physalus and other cetacean species, in order to assess areas of the Mediterranean Sea that could require targeted protection and conservation measures, as well as for the identification of potential threats and the implementation of mitigation measures. In particular, the waters of the island of Lampedusa are considered as a ​​winter feeding area for fin whales, which feed on the surface thanks to the abundance of Euphausiids  belonging to the species Nyctiphanes couchii, different from that of the Ligurian Sea ( Meganyctiphanes norvegica).
The project also aims to provide support to the implementation by Italy of Directive 2008/56/EC (Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MSFD) for monitoring activities addressed to the achievement of Good Environmental Status of the Italian seas. The project has the collaboration of researchers from the Tethys Research Institute, the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) , the Siena University, the Marine Protected Area Isole Pelagie and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US (NOAA). The research programme, authorized by the competent national offices, is conducted in compliance with legal and ethical principles of animal welfare.
Back in March 2013, as part of this project, three satellite transmitters were deployed on fin whales in these waters, which had provided satellite data for a shorter period (about 2 weeks) , underlining how these specimens remained near the southern coast of Lampedusa island, at a distance between 30-50 nautical miles from the coast, engaging for 75-80% of their time in feeding activities, confirming that the study area plays an important role in terms of food for the fin whales present.
In March 2014 it was not possible to tag any specimen of fin whale, given the particular adverse weather conditions encountered in the area, who had strongly affected the time spent at sea, the possibility of sighting whales: it is known that the Strait of Sicily in the winter months is characterized by adverse sea conditions.
In March  2015, finally, two satellite transmitters were deployed on two fin whales; Dr. Greg Donovan (Head of Science of the International Whaling Commission -IWC- and Scientific Coordinator of the project) and Dr. Simone Panigada (co-project manager for the Tethys Research Institute) report that:
On the 14th of March we managed to equip two fin whales with tiny satellite transmitters. The whales remained around Lampedusa for a couple of weeks, swimming back and forth along the shelf break between the islet of Lampione, the Levante seamount and the Tunisian coast, gorging on the abundant zooplankton found during winter in the surface waters of the Strait. On the 1st of April the two whales separated: one of them started swimming north, hugging the south-western coast of Sicily and then moving into the Tyrrhenian Sea off the east coast of Sardinia, while the other kept foraging for a few more days over the Tunisian Plateau. Then also the second whale moved into the Tyrrhenian, rapidly swimming northwards, and is now just off Cape Corse, in Corsica, well into the Pelagos Sanctuary.”

This unpublished information shows that some of the whales sighted in winter in the Strait of Sicily can be the same ones that concentrate in late spring in the Pelagos Sanctuary, in the north-western Mediterranean: the connection between whale seen off Lampedusa and those that spend the summer in the waters of the Pelagos Sanctuary scientifically demonstrates the existence of very large and defined seasonal movements of these marine mammals through the Mediterranean, outside of the Pelagos Sanctuary and in correlation with it.

The project fulfillment reaffirms, in the forefront between 23 ACCOBAMS Agreement Parties, the yet reached Italian leadership in implementing of that analytical methodology: it stressed the importance of IWC as Scientific manager of this research activity, being the recognized highest international Body concerning cetaceans research and conservation.
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