Bonn, 10 November 2016 – CMS and OceanCare signed a Partnership Agreement today to formalize their cooperation to better conserve aquatic and marine migratory species. CMS Executive Secretary, Bradnee Chambers, and OceanCare President, Sigrid Lüber, signed the agreement in the margins of the 45th Meeting of the CMS Standing Committee taking place from 9 to 10 November in Bonn, Germany.

Mr Chambers said: “CMS is looking forward to working with OceanCare to address some of the most pressing issues that aquatic species face. We value the longstanding contribution of our new partner to CMS Family expert groups, which provide key recommendations to promote the transboundary conservation of aquatic species. Based on the assessment of increasing threats, we want to develop recommendations for actions to be implemented across the regions.”

The partnership provides an opportunity to work together on issues such as ocean noise, marine debris and aquatic bushmeat.

OceanCare has taken the issue of anthropogenic marine noise to various Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other UN Organizations. OceanCare President Sigrid Lüber, acts in her private capacity as a Co-Chair of the Joint CMS/ACCOBAMS/ASCOBANS Noise Working Group. OceanCare also contributed substantively to the development of the CMS Family Guidelines on Environmental Impact Assessments for Marine Noise-generating Activities, which will be presented to CMS COP12 for adoption.

UNEP and some of its affiliated organizations have placed marine debris high on the political agenda. OceanCare is a partner to the Global Partnership on Marine Litter. The Parties acknowledged the importance of this global problem and, consequently, the Resolution on Management of Marine Debris was adopted by CMS COP11.

Ms Lüber said: “Working towards silent oceans by addressing the impacts of anthropogenic noise and developing initiatives to reduce the usage of plastic – both at a consumer level as well as within international fora – are two of our priorities. In addition, we will flag the importance of collaborating with and supporting local communities by counteracting the loss of local fisheries resources to distant water industrialised fishing which is one of the drivers of increasing aquatic bushmeat consumption – an issue which puts pressure on various migratory species, including small whales.”

OceanCare is supporting the discussions on bushmeat within the CMS Scientific Council’s Aquatic Mammals Working Group and will continue to do so in the lead-up to the 2nd Meeting of the Sessional Committee of the CMS Scientific Council.  In accordance with Resolution 10.15, the Working Group is providing information on the impact of aquatic bushmeat on CMS-listed species in three regions: West and Central Africa, South/Southeast Asia and Latin America. It recommends that a specific CMS Resolution be submitted to CMS COP12 on aquatic bushmeat, which would be relevant across the CMS Family.

Aquatic bushmeat is a growing threat to dolphins, small whales, turtles, manatees, polar bears and seals. It implies that animals are being hunted for food, medicine and other traditional uses, including as bait for fisheries. As the forests empty and coastal fish disappear, local communities are increasingly hunting aquatic species as a protein source.