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On the first day of the Seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement for the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Mediterranean and Black Seas (ACCOBAMS), OceanCare invites the government representatives of the coastal states to a side event to present the SAVE MOBY project. Together with scientists from different disciplines we are working hard on a solution to reduce the risk of collisions between ships and sperm whales to a minimum. Along with the call for shifting the main shipping route by a few nautical miles and for reducing ship speed, the ambitious project is one of the last rays of hope to save the sperm whales in the central and eastern Mediterranean from extinction.

With the side event on the first day of the conference, we want to make the government representatives aware of the urgency of the situation. And we want to make it clear that joint efforts can bring about targeted and solution-oriented marine protection. In addition, we express our concern about the planned development of oilfields in the Hellenic Trench, which, among other things, would cause immense noise pollution and threaten these marine mammals, for which the use of sound is vital. The Hellenic Trench is a crucial habitat for sperm whales in the central and eastern Mediterranean.

Contents and speakers at the side event:

Simone Panigada, Chairman of the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee and President of Tethys Research Institute, explains how important the Hellenic Rift off Greece is as a habitat for cetaceans and why it is classified as an “Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA)”.

Emmanuel Skarsoulis is Scientific Director of the Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (IACM-FORTH) and a member of the OceanCare funded research and conservation project SAVE MOBY. Mr. Skarsoulis presents the project’s approach and its current state of development.

Nicolas Entrup, Co-Director International Relations at OceanCare, talks about the threats to cetaceans in the Hellenic Trench, the challenges and demands to both private sector and government, and concerns about intensified oil exploration in the region.

Johannes Müller, policy expert at OceanCare, will moderate the event and the subsequent discussion.

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