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Agoa sanctuary

The Agoa sanctuary aims to ensure good marine mammal conservation by protecting both the mammals and their habitats from the direct or indirect, potential or proven, adverse impacts of human activities.

Action is guided by five principles set out in the declaration establishing the sanctuary : protect, understand, share, inform and cooperate.

  1. Restrict negative interactions between human activities (direct or indirect, potential or known) and marine mammals and find innovative ways of limiting the impact these activities have. (Declaration § 5 & 6).
  2. Enhance knowledge of marine mammal populations and their habitats and of potential or known humaninduced pressures and threats facing these species. (Declaration § 7).
  3. Disseminate knowledge (information, awarenessraising, education) and promote the Agoa sanctuary, marine mammals and the marine environment in general. (Declaration § 8).
  4. Implement the resources required to monitor the sanctuary within the framework of pooling State resources. (Declaration § 9).
  5. Cooperate with the other States in the Caribbean and particularly with the Parties to the Cartagena Convention and its Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) as well as States sharing marine mammal populations, to foster the introduction of conservation and management measures that are coherent with those of the Agoa sanctuary. (Declaration § 12).

Dedicated local governance

Agoa is governed by a management board which has 53 members, representing the diversity of the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and Saint- Barthélemy.

It consists of sea stakeholders : local officials, professional fishermen, leisure users, tourism businesses, environmental protection societies, experts and Government services.

The management board defines the sanctuary’s policy : management plan, programme of action, and monitoring and assessment via the dashboard implementation.

It prepares proposals for the competent government authorities concerning the supervision or regulation of activities which negatively impact marine mammals.

Protecting beyond borders

Marine mammal conservation and management issues go beyond national geographic confines owing to the great mobility of these species and the often underestimated dimensions of their “living areas ”.

A regional and international approach is thus necessary to manage any marine mammal sanctuary. From the outset, Agoa adopted an open approach to the way its works, to foster cooperation with existing (and future) sanctuaries in the Caribbean and with countries that share marine mammal populations. Together, we improve knowledge of the populations and facilitate the adoption of coherent, large-scale protection measures.