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Dominica to Establish World’s First Marine Protected Area for Sperm Whales

The government of Dominica has announced plans to create the world’s first marine protected area (MPA) specifically for endangered sperm whales. Covering approximately 800 square kilometers (300 square miles) of waters on the western side of the island nation, the MPA aims to ensure the safety of sperm whales from potential harm caused by large vessels and commercial fishing. The protected area will allow for small-scale sustainable artisanal fishing and eco-tourism activities, such as whale watching and swimming with the whales. Sperm whales are attracted to Dominica’s waters as critical feeding and nursing grounds.

Dominica will establish an 800-square-kilometer marine protected area for sperm whales, becoming the world’s first MPA dedicated to this endangered species.The initiative aims to protect sperm whales from harm caused by large vessels and commercial fishing, supporting the conservation of this species in critical feeding and nursing grounds.

Large vessels and commercial fishing activities will be prohibited in the protected area, while small-scale sustainable artisanal fishing will be allowed. Eco-tourism, including whale watching and swimming with the whales, will also be permitted. Sperm whales, the largest toothed mammals on Earth, play a crucial role in marine ecology. Their feces are rich in nutrients that contribute to plankton blooms, which capture carbon dioxide from seawater and act as carbon sinks.

Despite their global distribution, sperm whale populations are declining, and conservation efforts are crucial to safeguard individual animals and families.Dominica anticipates that the protected zone will not only boost tourism revenue but also contribute to carbon sequestration, as sperm whales play a role in maintaining marine ecosystems and mitigating climate change impacts.

The establishment of a marine protected area specifically for sperm whales reflects Dominica’s commitment to conservation, eco-tourism, and addressing climate change impacts. The initiative recognizes the ecological importance of sperm whales and aims to balance conservation efforts with sustainable practices.

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