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6th February, 2015

Enhancing the future of the Hawaiian monk seal: recommendations for the NOAA recovery program

Recent Publications

Executive Summary

Publication coverMarine Conservation Institute undertook this report on the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Program for the purpose of enhancing the conservation prospects of one of the world’s most endangered pinnipeds. The Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi), whose estimated population now hovers between 900 and 1,100 animals, has suffered a 60-year decline despite the efforts of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and others to reverse it. Although some may view the seal’s fate as hopeless, it is not. Despite difficult circumstances, NMFS and its partners have made progress on several fronts to slow the seal’s decline. Encouragingly, NMFS estimates that up to 32 per cent of all seals living in 2012 were alive because of hundreds of interventions taken by the agency over many years to enhance the survival of individual seals at risk.

Nevertheless, the recovery program faces several challenges that must be met if the program is going to meet its current long term goal of having a population of 3,200 seals, with 500 individuals in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) and 2,900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). With a good strategy, sufficient resources, and effective coordination among its several partners, we think NMFS can accelerate progress toward achieving and maintaining a healthy population of monk seals. But it is not going to be easy.

Chandler, W., E. Douce, K. Shugart-Schmidt, T. Watson, M. Sproat, F. Rosenstiel, K. Yentes, X. Escovar-Fadul, and T. Laubenstein. 2015. Enhancing the future of the Hawaiian monk seal: recommendations for the NOAA recovery program. Marine Conservation Institute. Seattle, WA: 1-80. [PDF 4.3MB]

2nd February, 2011

Hawaiian monk seal scoping report available

NOAA announcement, 1 February 2011

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) has published the Scoping Summary Report for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions PEIS, which presents a public record and summary of the scoping activities that occurred from October 1, 2010 through November 30, 2010.  The report can be viewed online.

In the coming months, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions Draft PEIS will be released and a 60-day public comment period will be announced.

7th August, 2009

i-monk Alliance

The International Monk Seal Conservation Alliance (i-monk Alliance), formed in November last year, has launched its own website at www.i-monk.org.

The Alliance, composed of research and conservation organisations from across the range of the species, is currently developing a number of practical initiatives to improve conservation measures for Europe’s most endangdered marine mammal, the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus. Current organisational members include CBD-Habitat (Fundación para la Conservación de la Biodiversidad y su Hábitat) of Spain, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), MOm (The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal) of Greece, The Monachus Guardian (an international journal and website dedicated to monk seals), The Parque Natural da Madeira of Portugal, and SAD-AFAG (Underwater Research Society/ Mediterranean Seal Research Group) of Turkey.

26th July, 2009

Monk seal conservation strategy launched in Greece

National Strategy coverMOm (the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal) has announced the publication of a national conservation strategy for the species to be implemented between 2009 and 2015.

Prepared by marine mammalogist Giuseppe Notarbaratolo di Sciara in association with MOm’s own researchers, the Strategy has now been submitted to the Greek authorities and the European Commission, in the hope that its various recommendations will be officially adopted and implemented.

The report can be downloaded from MOm’s website.

Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., S. Adamantopoulou, E. Androukaki, P. Dendrinos, A.A. Karamanlidis, V. Paravas, S. Kotomatas. 2009. National strategy and action plan for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal in Greece, 2009 – 2015. MOm, Athens: 1–19.

22nd June, 2009

i-monk Alliance holds second meeting in Gököva Bay, Turkey

© i-monk Alliance

© i-monk Alliance

The International Monk Seal Conservation Alliance (known by its abbreviation, i-monk) held its second regular meeting in Gököva Bay, Turkey on 11-12 June 2009. Gököva Bay is the site of an integrated coastal zone management plan being implemented by i-monk Alliance member SAD-AFAG in association with Turkey’s Environment Protection Agency for Special Areas (EPASA).

i-monk Alliance participants at Gököva Bay. © SAD-AFAG

i-monk Alliance participants at Gököva Bay. © SAD-AFAG

Formally established last year, the i-monk Alliance aims to strengthen ties between monk seal conservation and research projects from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Atlantic, developing common strategies in conservation policy and operational protocols [see International Alliance takes shape in Madeira, TMG 11 (2): November 2008]. Founding and current members are CBD-Habitat (Fundación para la Conservación de la Biodiversidad y su Hábitat) of Spain, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), MOm (The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal) of Greece, The Monachus Guardian (an international journal and website dedicated to monk seals and their threatened habitats), the Parque Natural da Madeira of Portugal  and SAD-AFAG (Underwater Research Society / Mediterranean Seal Research Group) of Turkey.

The Gököva Bay meeting ended with participants agreeing a raft of measures to enhance international coordination, design common operational protocols, develop joint projects, and improve public outreach and lobbying.