USA Legal Protections

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) contains provisions to address the incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in both domestic and foreign commercial fisheries. With respect to foreign fisheries, section 101(a)(2) of the MMPA states that the Secretary of the Treasury shall ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish which have been caught with commercial fishing technology which results in the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States standards.

USA Legal Protections

All cetaceans in U.S. waters are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). It is illegal for any person or vessel subject to U.S. jurisdiction to take any marine mammal, subject to certain exceptions. Take is defined in the MMPA as “to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal.” The objectives of the MMPA are to maintain the health and stability of marine ecosystems and maintain marine mammal stocks at optimum sustainable population levels, taking into account the carrying capacity of the ecosystem.

France Whale watching

The French mainland has coasts on the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Channel, while its overseas territories span temperate, tropical and even polar and sub polar waters around the globe. Together these areas offer a widely varying range of opportunities for whale and dolphin watching involving different species, habitats and whale-watching platforms.

France Protected Areas

France, together with Italy and Monaco, have created in 2002 the Pelagos whale sanctuary which encompasses both territorial and international waters of the north-western Mediterranean. This area is summer home range and critical feeding habitat to the isolated population of the Mediterranean fin whale, Baleanoptera physalus, and a diversity of small cetaceans. The management of this valued marine natural heritage in such a heavily anthropised region should benefit to other regions with a similar environmental challenge.

France Agreements

Based on the Partnership between the French MPA Agency and the French Austral Territory, this program is aiming at defining important ecological areas, particularly for top predator such as marine mammals, and new MPAs in the Crozet (planning domain 5) and Kerguelen (planning domain 6) areas as well as in the East Antarctica planning domain. A first proposal for a representative system of MPAs in East Antarctica has been presented jointly by France and Australia, since 2012 at annual meetings of the Commission CAMLR.

France Agreements

France is a member state of the International Whaling Commission, the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), the convention on biodiversity (CBD) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Beside Pelagos, France is a member state of the ASCOBANS and ACCOBAMS agreements for the protection of cetaceans in European seas, under the Convention for the protection of Migratory Species (CMS). In September 2006, France has signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the conservation on cetaceans and their habitats in the Pacific islands region, also under the CMS.

France Legal Protections

A decree was issued in July 2011 insuring better protection of all marine mammals occurring in the French territories. Under this decree, it is prohibited to harass, catch or kill, voluntarily disturb any individual of all cetacean species across the French territory and in waters under its jurisdiction. Under this decree, habitat destruction and degradation are also prohibited. In addition to this, the same decree also stipulates that transport and trade of any cetacean, dead or alive, or of products processed from cetaceans are similarly forbidden. 

France Cetacean Conservation

Many populations of whales around the world are threatened by collisions with vessels. In the PELAGOS Sanctuary, the scientific community and several ship-owners have joined forces to deal with these accidents. The REAL TIME PLOTTING OF CETACEANS (REPCET) system is a collaborative computer tool for use in commercial shipping. At present, several shipping companies operating in the sanctuary are using REPCET. Every sighting of large cetaceans by watch-keeping personnel on board a vessel equipped with REPCET is transmitted by satellite in semi-real-time to a server located on land.