In 2006, governments from the Pacific Islands Region made some very strong steps towards protecting whales and dolphins by establishing the Convention of Migratory Species Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region (CMS Pacific Cetaceans MoU). This is one of only three CMS agreements dedicated specifically to cetaceans in the world – and is by far the largest in size. What makes the progress of this agreement more laudable is that knowledge of cetacean diversity, threats and habitat is relatively low in this region (with a majority of cetacean species being considered ‘Data Deficient’ by the IUCN) and furthermore that there is a limited amount of resources available by many of the governments in this region. Hence, the purpose and motivation for this agreement is proactive and risk averse for real conservation gains. A recent paper we wrote [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13880292.2013.764775] outlines the initiation and development of the CMS Pacific Cetaceans MoU.
We also look at the strengths, challenges and proposed next steps for the agreement while emphasizing the importance of ongoing support, strong national engagement, and effective collaboration and synergy in order to ensure the long-term goals and objectives of this agreement are met. For additional details on this initiative please see www.pacificcetaceans.org