On transboundary conservation options for migratory marine predators in the high seas.

Conveners: Mary-Anne Lea1, Susan Gallon2 and Kylie Scales3, Autumn-Lynn Harrison4

1IMAS, University of Tasmania; 2MedPAN, France; 3University of the Sunshine Coast; 4National Zoological Park

The advancements in animal tracking technology are enabling far greater data collection on migratory species than ever before. These data contribute to broaden our knowledge of the connectivity generated by migratory marine species, the critical habitats they depend on throughout their life cycles, and the pathways between them. A further point of relevance is plasticity in habitat selection of various species versus environmental predictability and the capacity of species to respond to rapid environmental change (resilience).

In this session, we aim to emphasize the importance of these data and help identify how they can be more effectively incorporated into international management and policy framework to better protect migratory species in the high seas (e.g. Birdlife International, SCAR RAATD, MICO project). In addition, this workshop will be an opportunity to familiarise scientists with the key international instruments for governing high seas regions for migratory species and to advance our thinking on how to effectively manage future climate (and other anthropogenic) stressors for migratory (trans-boundary) marine predators. A further aim of this workshop will be to direct future tracking and monitoring initiatives of migratory species to effectively interlink with these management instruments.

The workshop will address the following themes:

  1. Building scientific evidence: identifying important habitats (and capacity to measure change) through tracking, (long-term) monitoring and predictive models (e.g. SCAR Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking Data, TOPP);
  2. Assessing important/critical marine habitat worldwide for marine mobile species based on scientific evidence: e.g. IBAs (Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas – BirdLife International); IMMA (Important Marine Mammal Areas – IUCN MMPA));
  3. Adaptive management, network of MPA (MedPAN) and migratory connectivity (Mico project): highlight tools and projects that contribute to protecting migratory species at the scale/timeframe relevant to them.
  4. Conservation policy instruments: international regulatory frameworks through treaties and Conventions (CMS, OSPAR, CCAMLR, Barcelona Convention, etc.).
  5. Update on the current working group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by the IUCN WCPA High Seas Specialist Group.
  6. Introduce and discuss the new Marine Connectivity Working Group (MCWG), IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas’ (WCPA’s) Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group (CCSG).


The workshop will include a series of open and solicited talks and break-out groups in the afternoon around the workshop themes and targeted outputs.

Requirements and Criteria:

Open and invited workshop. We welcome participants from tracking and policy disciplines interested in exploring new approaches to marine predator connectivity and protection.

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