New whale and dolphin species records, research and conservation achievements across the Pacific Islands region was profiled at the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium during an Open Day in Apia Samoa as part of their week long Annual meeting. It was supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Pew Environment Group and IFAW – the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
In 2009, SPREP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium which has resulted in an effective working relationship. One of the many ongoing developments between the two partners is a recovery plan for the Oceania Humpback whale.
At the opening of the Open Day in Apia, Acting Director Mr Kosi Latu commended the partnership process undertaken by the organisations, which includes a half day session during the Annual Meeting to further develop this working relationship.
"I believe that this is the way for true collaboration, working together to identify priorities and assigning responsibilities. The planning part of the process is in most cases straightforward, but the most challenging task is the implementation of those priorities and responsibilities," said Mr. Latu.
"I am confident that the MoU between the consortium and SPREP is working."
The South Pacific Whale Research Consortium was established by independent scientists of Oceania working on Marine mammals; it has grown since its inception in 1999 and has been a strong advocate for the implementation of the SPREP regional whale and dolphin action plan. Members of the SPWRC have conducted numerous researches on cetaceans in the region, providing the much needed information for the conservation of these marine animals.
"SPWRC research and collaborations with SPREP have highlighted the importance and value of conservation of whales in the Pacific Islands region. Many Pacific Island states are seen as global leaders in whale conservation and the network of their sanctuaries and related measures places them at the forefront of global efforts to conserve these species," said Ms. Sue Taei, SPWRC co-convenor.
This is the 11th annual meeting of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, for more details on this please visit www.whaleresearch.org/spwrc.htm