Press release issued by the Environment Society of Oman (ESO)
Muscat, 28th November 2022 – A workshop focused on the protection of Arabian Sea humpback whales was organized in a collaboration between the Environment Authority (EA) and the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), with funding provided by HSBC Oman. The event brought together local and international experts and policy makers to encourage collective responsibility and further actions that could lead to a safer habitat for the regionally endangered species. The full workshop report can be downloaded by clicking here.
The two-day workshop involved presentations by representatives from international experts, including the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Cetacean Specialist Group, as well as local entities who recognize the importance of protecting Arabian Sea humpback whales, including the Environment Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources.
“The workshop first focused on the current status of the Arabian Sea humpback whale sub-population in Oman and recommendations for collaborative measures to help conserve this endangered species,” Eng. Ahmed Said Al Shukaili, Director of Marine Conservation Department at the Environment Authority, explained. “This small population could be pushed to the brink of extinction if threats are not addressed, which could result in an ecological imbalance in our marine environment. The major threats to this unique species include collisions with ships, noise pollution, whale and dolphin watching tourism and entanglement in fishing nets. There is an urgent need to collectively mitigate these risks.
The workshop included discussions on how to design and implement Conservation Management Plans (CMP), which aim to minimize the threat to Arabian Sea humpback whales and other marine life. HH Sayyida Tania Al Said, President of the Environment Society Oman, said, “Sustainable conservation measures incorporating a crosscutting approach are required to mitigate the threats to the survival of this unique species. During our workshop, we discussed how various government and industry stakeholders can work together to develop a local Conservation Management Plan considering lessons learned from a global perspective, as well as ways in which Oman can collaborate with other countries within the Arabian Sea humpback range to promote regional conservation measures.” She added, “We would like to acknowledge the support of HSBC Oman, the Environment Authority, as well as all our other partners, for helping us bring more attention to the endangered Arabian Sea humpback whale and call for collective action to help protect the species.”
“This workshop is part of a wider conservation and capacity building programme that supports the conservation of Arabian Sea humpback whales. The programme supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal agenda, in developing capacity on climate change mitigation. We are happy to renew our established relationship with The Environment Society of Oman in this project, which will give a valuable opportunity to support the next generation of marine researchers and activists,” said Melika Betley, CEO of HSBC Oman.
Oman provides an important habitat to over 20 species of whales and dolphins, including the Arabian Sea humpback whale that has been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. ESO, in cooperation with its partners, has been conducting research on whales and dolphins for nearly 20 years, and sharing findings with those responsible for conservation management. For more information on the Marine Mammals Atlas of Oman, which details past research and status of each cetacean species in Oman, visit https://esofundraiser.com/resources/.
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