Mediterranean: protocol for whale sanctuary signed

February 16 is World Whale Day, focus on species Pelagos area

14 February, 11:33

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, FEBRUARY 14 - February 16 is World Whale Day. And the priority for the Mediterranean is to ''celebrate and protect these giants of the sea who live in the Pelagos sanctuary, which is still threatened by plastic and acoustic pollution and maritime traffic'', WWF Italia said. The Italian chapter of the organization announced a new collaboration with Fondazione Cima, which is in charge of implementing the certification High Quality Whale Watching.

    The protocol of agreement between WWF and the foundation Cima provides for reciprocal support in programs to safeguard the Mediterranean and for sustainability in activities including whale watching and maritime traffic.

    In the Sanctuary Pelagos, in place since 2002 thanks to an agreement between France, Italy and Monaco, live common whales, sperm whales, pilot whales, dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins and the little-known Cuvier's beaked whales.

    ''It is important not just to promote the interest of marine biodiversity in general but to guarantee that rules are respected in order not to disturb animals during observation.

    ''Whale watching can be practiced in different ways: daily excursions on motor vessels or dinghies as well as week-long vacations on a sailboat. For this reason, it is difficult to give numbers on the quantity of participants. Moreover, there is currently no legislative 'regime' on this. For this reason, over the past few years the secretariat Accobams has registered the trademark High Quality Whale Watching, in collaboration with the secretariat Pelagos'', explained the researcher on marine ecosystems of the Cima Foundation, Aurélie Moulins.

    ''The collaboration with Fondazione Cima - stressed the president of WWF Italia, Donatella Bianchi - will boost our activities to defend the sea. In 2020 we will start a specific program to monitor whales thanks to a new community that will 'sail off' over the coming months, the 'Vele del Panda', where biologists and researchers on board will be able to gather data through visual and acoustic surveys''. (ANSAmed).

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