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Conservation Impact - Global and Regional Initiatives

Species data and analyses generated by the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA) are used by national, regional and international conventions and policy fora around the globe to determine the state of the worlds’ marine biodiversity and resources.

Global Initiatives

Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) – Species information generated by the GMSA is often used to determine if a species meets the criteria for inclusion in CITES. Marine Biodiversity Unit researchers were invited to the CITES CoP15 in Doha, Qatar in March 2010 to provide technical backstopping for marine species proposed to be listed under Appendix I or II, including eight species of shark and the Atlantic Bluefin tuna. The landmark 2013 listing of seven marine species to Appendix II came into effect in September 2014. Appendix II is designed to protect internationally traded species that may not be currently threatened but could be at high risk of extinction unless trade is closely controlled. The seven species, including the oceanic whitetip shark; the smooth, scalloped and great hammerhead sharks; porbeagle shark; and the reef and giant manta rays, are highly commercial, creating new challenges for the implementation of this listing. Under Appendix II, all specimens for international trade will have to be accompanied by permits, proving that the specimen was collected sustainably and legally, and be reported to the CITES Secretariat.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – Results from GMSA generated data were used to determine the rate of marine biodiversity loss for CBD 2010 targets, and are key components in measuring the success of CBD 2020 biodiversity targets 1, 2, 6 and 12. In addition, our results were used in combination with Red List assessments of terrestrial and freshwater species to estimate how close we are to meeting the national and global conservation area targets (CBD target 11). These results are available in a recent publication.

Marine Key Biodiversity Areas – the GMSA has been invited to participate in an initiative to develop technical criteria and consolidated standards for the identification of sites of global biodiversity conservation significance or Marine Key Biodiversity Areas.  This much needed methodology is being led by the IUCN WCPA/SSC Joint Task Force, and will serve conservation planning agencies around the world. A recent publication laid the groundwork for developing criteria to designate these key areas using marine mammals as a case study.

Fisheries Conservation and Advocacy – in collaboration with regional fisheries management organizations (RMFOs), conservation organizations, universities, and research institutions around the world, the results and recommendations from the completed Global Tuna and Billfish Red List Assessment are forming the platform for a number of global and regional fisheries conservation and advocacy initiatives.

 

Regional Initiatives

Gulf of Mexico - In partnership with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University, the data and recommendations generated from GMSA workshops are being used to develop a State of the Gulf Report Card, as well as are provided to NOAA and the Presidential Task Force for the Gulf of Mexico Restoration Strategy. Read more...

Brazil National Red List - The GMSA collaborated with the Brazilian Ministry of Environment (Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade- ICMBio) to support their national Red List of marine species, and to conduct joint regional and global workshops on selected taxa. Through this partnership the GMSA provided training in Red List Categories and Criteria, capacity building in Red List Species Information System (SIS) software and spatial analyses (GIS). The list of threatened species was recently released: of the nearly 12,000 species that were assessed, 1,173 were designated as threatened.

Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascapes – In collaboration with Conservation International’s Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascapes program, data generated from more than 1,600 comprehensive marine species assessments in the Eastern Tropical Pacific are now available for use by scientists, conservationists and managers throughout the region.

Additional Regional Initiatives - Comprehensive regional assessments have also been completed for the Mediterranean Sea, and are currently being conducted in the Caribbean, Oceania, West Africa, the European Union, and Persian/Arabian Gulf.