MMO Certificate / School

In 2014 and 2015, the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee has recommended to the Parties the creation of an ACCOBAMS HQMMO/PAM certification.

The Resolution 6.18 “Implementation of an ACCOBAMS Certification for Highly Qualified Marine Mammals Observers” was adopted by Parties in November 2016. It will guarantee, throughout the Agreement area, a high quality standardized training of MMOs/PAM by:

  • ensuring the recognition of the ACCOBAMS Highly Qualified MMOs/PAM operators at the international level,
  • improving the effectiveness of conservation measures to limit the impact of noise on cetaceans.


The Resolution 6.18 explains the process, actors and their role with the objective of proposing a certification for the whole ACCOBAMS area (Mediterranean and Black Sea), and a standard training.


The ACCOBAMS School will:

  • be composed by experts (e.g. from the research, academic sectors, and relevant stakeholders) operating in the ACCOBAMS Area in cetacean ecology, underwater acoustics and bioacoustics, impacts on marine mammals, mitigation measure in the ACCOBAMS regions, identified by the MMO working group;
  • select the future MMO/PAM candidates in accordance to the terms of references;
  • train and certificate MMO/PAM;
  • provide the support for the standard training to all accredited “trainer” organizations under the directives and/or validation of the MMO working group;
  • provide the support for the updates to be integrated in the training, following MMO working group directives;
  • update regularly the list of certificated MMO/PAM and inform the Permanent Secretariat;
  • Submit to MMO/PAM-trainees the commitment agreement between them and ACCOBAMS for signature;
  • Send the commitment agreement to the Permanent Secretariat.


The “TRAINER” organizations will:

  • ask for accreditation/renewal to the Permanent Secretariat;
  • use standard support of training provided by the ACCOBAMS School;
  • train and certificate MMO/PAM that fulfil the requirements to be candidate;
  • update regularly the list of certificated MMO and inform the Permanent Secretariat;
  • submit to MMO/PAM-trainees the commitment agreement between them and ACCOBAMS for signature;
  • deliver the template report and a standard sighting form to be used in the field;
  • participate in a working group or a group on NetCCOBAMS ( relating to MMOs or PAM operators.


An “ACCOBAMS MMO/PAM Courses Committee”, composed by relevant experts identified by the ACCOBAMS MMO WG, will provide them with standard supports. The accredited trainer organizations will then train and certify relevant candidates to become “Highly Qualified MMO/PAM operators”.

The objective is to encourage ACCOBAMS Parties to give permits for activities in their national area, in priority, to industrial companies employing ACCOBAMS Highly Qualified MMOs/PAM operators or at least other internationally agreed certifications.


The MMO/PAM operators will:

  • have to fulfil requirements established by the MMO Working Group, to apply for the training;
  • attend a standard training from an accredited organism or from the ACCOBAMS school;
  • receive a certificate stating that they can act now as MMO/PAM;
  • sign a commitment (through the trainer organism or through the ACCOBAMS school) with the Permanent Secretariat to engage themselves in using standards;
  • elaborate a report after each mission at sea that will be forwarded to the relevant national authority ;