France

One of the 15 original signatories for the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Australia has become a world leader in the protection and conservation of whales since the end of Australia's whaling industry in 1978. Australian waters are home to approximately 45 species of whales and dolphins. The protection of these species at regional, national and international levels is a priority for the Australian Government. Australia profile on Whale Watching Handbook
  • France Protected Areas

    Country: France
    Section:  Legal developments
    Theme: Sanctuaries and protected areas
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    The Pelagos whale sanctuary encompasses both territorial and international waters of the north-western Mediterranean.

    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.

    External URL: https://www.sanctuaire-pelagos.org/en/
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  • France Protected Areas

    Country: France
    Section:  Legal developments
    Theme: Sanctuaries and protected areas
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    France's protected natural areas cover approximately 23.5% of waters. 

    An active site-oriented conservation strategy has been developed since April 2006, of the law relative to the establishment of Marine Natural Parks and the creation of the Agency for Marine Protected Areas whose aims are: to support public policies in the field of marine protected areas, regarding both their creation and their management, to manage the human and financial resources dedicated to Marine Natural Parks, to give technical and administrative support to managers of marine protected areas.

    Among the network of MPA, several Marine Natural Parks (Parcs Naturels Marins, PNM) have been created. The PNM d'Iroise, located off the west coast of Brittany, was established in 2007; the PNM du Golfe du Lion, located in the north-western Mediterranean Sea, was created in 2011; the PNM de Mayotte and PNM des Glorieuses are two contiguous marine natural parks spreading over 110,000 km2 in the northern Mozambique Channel, south-west Indian Ocean, established in 2010 and 2012 respectively. More recently, the PNM des Estuaires Picards et de la Côte d’Opale and the PNM du Bassin d’Arcachon have been created in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Finally, the PNM de l'estuaire de la Gironde et de la mer des Pertuis and the PNM du Cap Corse et de l'Agriate were created in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The PNM de Martinique to be created soon would terminate this series of Marine Natural Parks. Although none of these parks has been specifically designated for the conservation of cetacean, most of them are home to significant populations of cetaceans. Finally, the Coral Sea Marine Park, extending over its 1.3 million-km2 EEZ, was created by the Government of New Caledonia in April 2014, and, in the Caribbean, the EEZ around Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy was declared in 2010 a sanctuary for marine mammals named the Agoa sanctuary.

    External URL: https://www.ofb.gouv.fr/en/managing-protected-areas
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  • France Legal Protections

    Country: France
    Section:  Legal developments
    Theme: Other
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    All marine mammals are protected by law in French waters. 

    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. 

    External URL: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/loda/id/JORFTEXT000024396902/
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  • France Legal Protections

    Country: France
    Section:  Legal developments
    Theme: Other
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    France is a member country of the European Union, therefore it enforces EU regulations concerning marine mammals and environment. 

    As a member of the European Union, France endorses European regulations on cetacean conservation. Three principal legal frameworks are particularly relevant, the habitat Directive, the Common Fishery Policy and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Under the Habitat Directive, all species of cetaceans are listed in appendix IV relative to protected species and two coastal-dwelling species, the harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, and the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, are listed in appendix II which implies the designation of sites, called Natura 2000 sites, for their protection. At present, the Natura 2000 network covers 40,000 km2 at sea (among other cetaceans, the harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena is reported from 36 sites and the common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus from 61 sites).
    Under the Common Fishery Policy, regulation EC/812 of April 26th, 2004, determine how to assess, monitor and mitigate small cetacean by-catch in commercial fisheries. Since 2005, a yearly report is produced and some mitigation strategies are being tested. Target fisheries are those known to generate significant incidental catches of small cetaceans, mostly harbour porpoise (P. phocoena), short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) et common bottlenose dolphins (T. truncatus).
    The newly implemented EU marine strategy Framework Directive was adopted by the European Union in June 2008 and will provide the main context in which the French policy for monitoring and protecting cetaceans among others will develop in the future. In particular, marine strategies to be developed by each Member State must contain a detailed assessment of the state of the environment, a definition of "good environmental status" at regional level and the establishment of clear environmental targets and monitoring programs, including of cetacean populations. In this context, marine mammal issues are dealt with mainly under descriptor 1 (biodiversity), and also under descriptors 4 (food web), 10 (marine debris) and 11 (energy and noise) for specific issues.

    External URL: https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/conservation-status-of-marine-mammals
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  • France Whale watching

    Country: France
    Section: Information on WhaleWatching operations
    Theme: Whale watching
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    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.

    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.

    All cetacean species are protected by French law (public ordinance (arrêté) of July 1st, 2011), which details the list of marine mammals protected under French law,  and whale-watching activities specifically are regulated in French Polynesia and New Caledonia. These sanctuaries are contiguous with several other national whale sanctuaries in the southern Pacific Ocean, thus creating a vast region where collaboration in cetacean conservation and research can be facilitated. In 2006, France, along with several other Pacific countries, has signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats in the Pacific islands region, under the CMS (Convention for the protection of Migratory Species).

    External URL: https://wwhandbook.iwc.int/en/country-profiles/france
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  • France Whale watching

    Country: France
    Section: Information on WhaleWatching operations
    Theme: Whale watching
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    The PELAGOS/ACCOBAMS cooperative agreement works to ensure quality and minimise negative impacts of whale watching activities to cetaceans. 

    The PELAGOS/ACCOBAMS high quality whalewatching label for commercial whale-watching activities was first delivered to French WW operators in July 2014.
    PELAGOS SANCTUARY PARTNERSHIP CHARTER. The concept of a partnership charter with towns and cities bordering the Sanctuary was launched in
    2007 and became operational in 2009. By signing the charter, municipalities are committed to help sustain the protection of marine mammals and in recognition of their commitment they are authorised to fly the Sanctuary flag. To date, 82 municipalities in France, Italy and Monaco have signed the Charter. 
    In the line of a recommendation adopted during MoP 2009 of the Pelagos Agreement, an application for the designation of Pelagos as a PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE SEA AREA (PSSA) under the provision of IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has to be elaborated. The draft measures to limit ship strikes should be included in the proposal. Work is still ongoing.

    External URL: https://accobams.org/4704/
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  • France Cetacean Conservation

    Country: France
    Section: Current Government programs related to cetacean conservation
    Theme: Ship Strikes
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    REPCET is a collaborative system that moniters ships strikes in the PELAGOS sanctuary

    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. The server then centralises the data and sends out an alert to equipped vessels that are likely to be affected. The alerts are displayed as maps on a dedicated screen on board.
     

    External URL: https://www.repcet.com/
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  • France National Strandings Scheme

    Country: France
    Section: Reporting systems for cetacean injuries/mortality/strandings
    Theme: Strandings, Conservation Management plans
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    Status: Active

    The national strandings scheme provides a yearly synthesis on beached cetaceans allowing baseline data to be collected about species diversity, causes of death, pathologies, population demographic structure, ecological parameters and levels of contaminants. Back calculation of cetacean carcass trajectories allows their origin to be determined.

    External URL: https://www.observatoire-pelagis.cnrs.fr/?lang=en
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  • France National Strandings Scheme

    Country: France
    Section: Reporting systems for cetacean injuries/mortality/strandings
    Theme: Strandings, Conservation Management plans
    Date started:
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    Status: Active

    The national strandings scheme provides a yearly synthesis on beached cetaceans allowing baseline data to be collected about species diversity, causes of death, pathologies, population demographic structure, ecological parameters and levels of contaminants. Back calculation of cetacean carcass trajectories allows their origin to be determined.

    External URL: https://www.observatoire-pelagis.cnrs.fr/?lang=en
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  • France Agreements

    Country: France
    Section: International cooperation activities
    Theme: Cooperation and Research
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    France is a member state of a number of multilateral agreements related to cetaceans 

    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 is a member of the Cartagena Convention (Caribbean Region), Barcelona Convention (Mediterranean Region) and Bern convention (for Europe) whose protocols on biodiversity deal, inter alia, with the conservation of cetaceans. As a member state of OSPAR, France also participates to the conservation of cetaceans in the North-East Atlantic. 

    External URL: https://www.cms.int/en/country/france
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  • France Agreements

    Country: France
    Section: International cooperation activities
    Theme: Cooperation and Research
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    France is leading an eco-regional program in order to contribute to the CCAMLR MPA Network.

    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. A special workshop was organized in May 2012 for the CCAMLR planning Domain 5, including the Del Cano area.

    External URL: https://www.ccamlr.org/en/science/mpa-planning-domains
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  • France - Knowledge Acquisition Program for Seabirds and Marine Mammals (PACOMM)

    Country: France
    Section: Research projects
    Theme: Sanctuaries and protected areas
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    Within the scope of EC commitments to Natura 2000, the Ministry of Ecology delegated the implementation of a knowledge acquisition program (PACOMM) on seabirds and marine mammals to the Agency for marine protected areas (AAMP). The goal was to assess the initial state of seabird and cetacean populations and their conservation status in Natura 2000 sites and within the parameters of national marine parks and offshore Natura 2000 sites. The program consisted of a combination of visual aerial surveys, site-based acoustic monitoring surveys, telemetry studies and local site-based approaches.

    External URL: http://www.natura2000.fr/
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