UN-sponsored report urges stronger protection for endangered sea mammals

23 November 2005

A United Nations-sponsored report released today urges extra protection for the world’s small cetaceans – dolphins, porpoises and related species – more than two-thirds of which are at risk from entanglement in fishing nets and which are vulnerable to pollution, habitat degradation and military sonar.

The report, produced by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), was launched today at the eighth Conference of the Parties to the Convention taking place at the Nairobi, Kenya headquarters of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which co-sponsored it through its Regional Seas Programme.

It argues that eight small cetacean species, including the Ganges River dolphin, the Atlantic spotted dolphin and northern right whale dolphin, should be given new protection under the CMS agreement, and that conservation of seven other species, including the white-beaked dolphin of North American waters, should be strengthened.

“Small cetaceans are amongst the most well-loved and charismatic creatures on the planet, sometimes linked with heroic tales and legends, Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said.

“Sadly, these qualities alone cannot protect them from a wide range of threats. So I fully endorse measures to strengthen their conservation through the CMS and other related agreements, he added.”

Doing so, Mr. Toepfer said, would help reverse the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010, and meet a target agreed upon at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

“And in doing so we can send a strong message that we can deliver this, not only for small cetaceans, but for all the threatened animals and plants on this wonderful blue planet,” he added.


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