On 7 July 2023, an important goal was achieved: the creation of a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) in the North-western Mediterranean Sea to protect marine mammals from the risk of collisions.
The proposal for the creation of a PSSA in the North-western Mediterranean was presented at the 4th Meeting of the Parties of the Pelagos Agreement (19-21 October 2021). The final decision on the designation and related recommendations was adopted within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). This result concludes an intensive cycle of work promoted by France, Italy, Monaco and Spain, also through national and international consultations with all interested parties.
The area declared as PSSA is characterised by significant maritime traffic and the presence of marine mammals: it includes the entire Pelagos Sanctuary as well as the Spanish Cetacean Corridor.
Key recommendations include maintaining an appropriate safety distance or voluntarily reduction of speed when observing marine mammals nearby, and the obligation to report the location of marine mammals and possible collision events to the designated coastal authorities, who must transmit this information to the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) global collision database. Furthermore, speed reduction measures will also enhance environmental sustainability, in particular by contributing to the achievement of low-carbon targets and the reduction of air pollutants.
The Permanent Secretariat of the Pelagos Agreement is proud to share this important news and congratulates the Parties and all those who worked hard to achieve this fundamental result.