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COP 11 Decision XI/17

XI/17.Marine and coastal biodiversity: ecologically or biologically significant marine areas

The Conference of the Parties,

Description of areas meeting the scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs)

Recalling paragraphs 165 and 167 of General Assembly resolution 66/231 of 24 December 2011, including its annex, on oceans and the law of the sea,
Recalling paragraphs 21 to 26 of decision X/29, in which the Conference of the Parties recognized that the Convention on Biological Diversity has a key role in supporting the work of the United Nations General Assembly with regard to marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction, by focusing on the provision of scientific and, as appropriate, technical information and advice relating to marine biological diversity, the application of the ecosystem approach and the precautionary approach,
Recalling the second preambular paragraph of decision IX/20,
1.Expresses its gratitude to the Government of Japan for funding, to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme for hosting and co-organizing, and to the Government of Australia for providing technical support through the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to the Western South Pacific Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas, held in Nadi, Fiji, from 22 to 25 November 2011; to the European Commission for funding, the Government of Brazil for hosting, and the UNEP/Caribbean Environment Programme for co-organizing the Wider Caribbean and Western Mid-Atlantic Regional Workshop, held in Recife, Brazil, from 28 February to 2 March 2012; and to the Government of France for hosting, OSPAR and NEAFC for convening, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Joint OSPAR/NEAFC/CBD Scientific Workshop on the Identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas in the North-East Atlantic, held in Hyères, France, on 8 and 9 September 2011;
2.Also expresses its gratitude to the Government of Japan for funding, to the Government of Mauritius for hosting, to the UNEP/Nairobi Convention Secretariat and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization for co-organizing, and to the Government of Australia for providing technical support through the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to the Southern Indian Ocean Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas, held in Flic en Flac, Mauritius, from 30 July to 3 August 2012; and to the Government of Japan for funding, to the Government of Ecuador for hosting, to the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific for co-organizing the Eastern Tropical and Temperate Pacific Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas, from 28 to 31 August 2012, in the Galapágos Islands, Ecuador;
3.Welcomes the scientific and technical evaluation of information contained in the reports of the regional workshops referred to in paragraph 1 above (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/6 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/7), which provide scientific and technical evaluation of information on the application of scientific criteria (decision IX/20, annex I), as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria, noting that additional regional workshops are to be convened in other regions in time to be considered by a meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice prior to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;
4.Notes with appreciation the participatory manner in which these regional workshops were convened, and the use of the best available scientific and technical information, which has provided a basis for the summary reports on the description of areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, prepared by the Subsidiary Body at its sixteenth meeting, as contained in the summary report in the annex to the present decision and supplemented by the annexes to UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/6 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/7;
5.Noting that, during their 17th Ordinary Meeting, held in Paris from 8 to 10 February 2012, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols adopted decision IG.20/7 regarding the conservation of sites of particular interest in the Mediterranean and requested the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention to contact the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in order to present the work carried out regarding the description of areas that could meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in the Mediterranean, takes note of the Synthesis Report, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/8, and its conclusion regarding the continuation of the work in close cooperation with Mediterranean countries and relevant organizations, in order to finalize the description of areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in the Mediterranean region;
6.Noting that, in accordance with decision X/29, the application of the scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas is a scientific and technical exercise and emphasizing that the identification of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas and the selection of conservation and management measures is a matter for States and competent intergovernmental organizations, in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as stated in paragraph 26 of decision X/29, requests the Executive Secretary to include the summary reports on the description of areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, prepared by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice at its sixteenth meeting and contained in the annex to this decision, in the repository, as referred to in decision X/29 and this decision, and, for the purpose set out in decision X/29, to submit them to the United Nations General Assembly and particularly its Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to Study Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction, as well as to submit them to Parties, other Governments and relevant international organizations, and further requests the Executive Secretary to submit them to the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-economic Aspects, as well as to provide them as a source of information to United Nations specialized agencies; 22
7.Takes note of the need to promote additional research and monitoring in accordance with national and international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to improve the ecological or biological information in each region with a view to facilitating the further description of the areas already described, the future description of other areas meeting the scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria;
8.Reaffirms the need to facilitate the participation of developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, including countries with upwelling systems, in targeted marine scientific research called for in paragraphs 10, 20 (b) and 48 of decision X/29, including in oceanographic cruises as well as in marine scientific research promoted by the International Seabed Authority;
9.Affirms that scientific description of areas meeting scientific criteria for EBSAs and other relevant criteria is an open and evolving process that should be continued to allow ongoing improvement and updating as improved scientific and technical information becomes available in each region;
10.Takes note that there is an ongoing scientific and technical process, with respect to the areas in the North-East Atlantic, which is described in UNEP/CBD/COP/11/INF/38, supported by; UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5/Add.1, and requests the Executive Secretary to include these documents in the EBSA information-sharing mechanism;
11.Takes note of the particular need for a regional workshop to be organized in the Mediterranean region in order to finalize the description of areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in time for its report to be considered by a meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice prior to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;
12.Requests the Executive Secretary to further collaborate with Parties, other Governments, competent organizations, and global and regional initiatives, such as the United Nations General Assembly Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-Economic Aspects, the International Maritime Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, regional seas conventions and action plans, and, where appropriate, regional fisheries management organizations, with regard to fisheries management, and also including the participation of indigenous and local communities, to facilitate the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs through the organization of additional regional or subregional workshops for the remaining regions or subregions where Parties wish workshops to be held, and for the further description of the areas already described where new information becomes available, as appropriate, subject to availability of financial resources, and make the reports available for consideration by future meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. The summary reports from the Subsidiary Body will be made available for future meetings of the Conference of the Parties for consideration with a view to including the reports in the repository in line with the purpose and procedures set out in decision X/29 and this decision;
13.Takes note of the tentative schedule for regional workshops to facilitate the description of areas meeting the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (annex to UNEP/CBD/COP/11/22);
14.Requests the Executive Secretary to further collaborate with Parties, other Governments and competent organizations to build capacity within countries to address regional priorities of developing country Parties, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, including those countries with upwelling systems, through the organization of regional or subregional capacity-building workshops, as called for in paragraph 37 of decision X/29, and other means;

The EBSA repository and the information-sharing mechanism

15.Expresses its gratitude to the Government of Germany for funding and welcomes the EBSA prototype repository and the information-sharing mechanism for scientific and technical information and experience related to the application of the scientific criteria (annex I to decision IX/20) as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria. This mechanism serves as a web-based input tool and database to assist Parties, other Governments and competent organizations in sharing scientific and technical information and experience related to the application of the scientific criteria for EBSAs, as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria, and provides scientific information and data to the regional workshops convened by the Executive Secretary, as called for in paragraph 36 of decision X/29 and paragraph 12 above, to describe areas meeting the scientific criteria for EBSAs and other relevant criteria;
16.Requests the Executive Secretary to further develop, subject to availability of financial resources, the prototype repository and the information-sharing mechanism into a fully functional repository and information-sharing mechanism so that they can fully serve the purpose called for in paragraph 39 of decision X/29, in collaboration with Parties, other Governments, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-IOC), in particular the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, and other competent organizations, noting the need to have a clear distinction between the repository containing the information included on the basis of decisions by the Conference of the Parties as called for in paragraph 39 of decision X/29 and other information entered in the information-sharing mechanism, and report on progress to a meeting of the Subsidiary Body prior to twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention;
17.Encourages Parties, other Governments and intergovernmental organizations to develop regional data inventories with metadata, taking into consideration their confidentiality, where applicable, which are linked to the information-sharing mechanism (paragraph 39 of decision X/29) and other relevant data sources, in order to track the location of datasets used in the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs by the regional workshops, to be undertaken in the remaining regions, as referred to in paragraph 36 of decision X/29 and paragraph 12 above, and, recalling paragraph 41 of decision X/29, requests the Executive Secretary to make the scientific information and data sets compiled by the regional workshops available to Parties, other Governments and intergovernmental organizations for their use according to their competencies, and report on progress of such collaboration to a meeting of the Subsidiary Body prior to twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention;
18.Recalling paragraph 18 of decision IX/20 and paragraph 43 of decision X/29, requests Parties and other Governments to further provide for inclusion in the repository or information-sharing mechanism, as determined by submitting Parties or Governments, scientific and technical information and experience relating to the application of the criteria for EBSAs or other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria in areas within national jurisdiction before the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

EBSA capacity-building

19.Welcomes the work of the Executive Secretary, generously funded by the Government of Germany, to develop the EBSA training manual and modules (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/9), and requests the Executive Secretary to further refine them, as necessary, including further consultation with Parties and indigenous and local communities, and the development of training materials on the use of traditional knowledge. When suitably revised, requests the Executive Secretary to translate the EBSA training manual and modules into the official United Nations languages, and invites Parties, other Governments and United Nations specialized agencies to use these training materials and other means, as appropriate, and, as far as possible, make necessary resources available for this purpose, in order to enhance the scientific and technical capacity within respective countries and regions with regard to describing areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs;
20.Requests the Executive Secretary to collaborate with Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to strengthen the capacities of countries in scientific staff training and report the progress for consideration at a meeting of the Subsidiary Body prior to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;
21.Requests the Executive Secretary to facilitate, subject to availability of financial resources, the organization of training workshops using these training materials in support of future scientific description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs at national and regional levels as well as identification of EBSAs by States and competent intergovernmental organizations;
22.Urges Parties and invites other Governments, the financial mechanism, and funding organizations, as appropriate, to provide adequate, timely, and sustainable support to the implementation of training and capacity-building and other activities related to EBSAs, especially for developing countries, in particular least developed countries and small island developing States, and Parties with economies in transition, including countries with upwelling systems, and, as appropriate, indigenous and local communities;

Traditional knowledgefor the description of EBSAs, and social and cultural criteria

23.Welcomes the report Identifying specific elements for integrating the traditional, scientific, technical and technological knowledge of indigenous and local communities, and social and cultural criteria and other aspects for the application of scientific criteria for identification of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) as well as the establishment and management of marine protected areas (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/10), noting that the best available scientific and technical knowledge, including relevant traditional knowledge, should be the basis for the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs, that additional social and cultural information, developed with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, may be relevant in any subsequent step of selecting conservation and management measures, and that indigenous and local communities should be included in this process, as appropriate, particularly in areas with human populations and pre-existing uses;
24.Invites Parties, other Governments, competent intergovernmental organizations, and relevant indigenous and local communities to consider the use of the guidance on integration of traditional knowledge in the report mentioned in paragraph 23 above, with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, where applicable, in any future description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs and for the development of conservation and management measures, and report on progress in this regard to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention;
25.Notes that socially and culturally significant marine areas may require enhanced conservation and management measures, and that criteria for the identification of areas relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in need of such enhanced measures due to their social, cultural and other significance may need to be developed, with appropriate scientific and technical rationales;

Annex

SUMMARY REPORTS ON THE DESCRIPTION OF AREAS MEETING THE SCIENTIFIC CRITERIA FOR ECOLOGICALLY OR BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT MARINE AREAS 23

1.In paragraph 36 of decision X/29, the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity requested the Executive Secretary to work with Parties and other Governments as well as competent organizations and regional initiatives, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), regional seas conventions and action plans, and, where appropriate, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), with regards to fisheries management, to organize, including the setting of terms of references, subject to the availability of financial resources, a series of regional workshops, before a future meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) prior to the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, with a primary objective to facilitate the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas through application of scientific criteria in annex I to decision IX/20 and other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria, as well as the Scientific Guidance on the Identification of Marine Areas beyond National Jurisdiction, which meet the scientific criteria in annex I to decision IX/20.
2.In paragraph 42 of the same decision, the Conference of Parties to the Convention requested the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to prepare reports based on scientific and technical evaluation of information from the workshops, setting out details of areas that meet the criteria in annex I to decision IX/20.
3.Pursuant to decision X/29, a series of regional workshops were convened either by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity or by competent intergovernmental regional organizations, in consultation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, including: (i) CBD Western South Pacific Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas held in Nadi, Fiji, from 22 to 25 November 2011; and (ii) CBD Wider Caribbean and Western Mid-Atlantic Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas held in Recife, Brazil, from 28 February to 2 March 2011.
4.Summaries of the results of these regional workshops are provided in tables 1 and 2 below, respectively, while full application of the criteria is provided in the annexes to the respective reports of the workshops (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/6 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/7);
5.Table 3 presents the outcome of the work carried out within the framework of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The synthesis report on this work is being made available as an information document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/8).
6.In paragraph 26 of decision X/29, the Conference of Parties noted that the application of the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas is a scientific and technical exercise, that areas found to meet the criteria may require enhanced conservation and management measures, and that this can be achieved through a variety of means, including marine protected areas and impact assessments, and emphasized that the identification of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas and the selection of conservation and management measures is a matter for States and competent intergovernmental organizations, in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
7.The description of marine areas meeting the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Nor does it have economic or legal implications, and is strictly a scientific and technical exercise.
Key to the tables
Ranking of Criteria for Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs)
Relevance
  • H: High
  • M: Medium
  • L: Low
  • -: No information
Criteria
  • C1: Uniqueness or rarity
  • C2: Special importance for life-history stages of species
  • C3: Importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats
  • C4: Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery
  • C5: Biological productivity
  • C6: Biological diversity
  • C7: Naturalness
Table 1
Description of areas meeting criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in the Western South Pacific region
(Details are described in the appendix to annex 5 of the report of the Western South Pacific Regional Workshop on EBSAs, in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/6)
For key to criteria, see above
Location and brief description of areas C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7
1. Phoenix Islands
  • Location: The Phoenix Islands include all of the Kiribati islands of the Phoenix archipelago and the surrounding sea mounts.
  • The Phoenix Islands have a diverse bathymetry, a number of bioregions and several shallow seamounts. There are 6 seamounts within this area, strong eddy fields in the surface water and upwelling occurs which heightens the concentration of rich nutrients (minerals) for phytoplankton and zooplanktons. This nutrient rich area leads to high levels of biodiversity and species of economic importance including sharks, billfish, tuna and other by-catch species. There are 5 Important Bird Areas which makes the Phoenix Islands important for a specific life stages for endangered species. There are numerous kinds of sea crabs and turtles and other highly migratory species are common. There was a high catch of Sperm whales in the Phoenix during the early 1900s. There are several IUCN Red List Species documented and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) dataset shows a high number of species.
M H H H H H H
2. Ua Puakaoa Seamounts
  • Location: Approximately 164°W and 21°S.
  • A seamount system characterized by a seamount located within 300m of the sea surface, another approximately 1000m below the surface, with strong current eddies at the surface, most likely caused by significant upwellings. It is likely to have high benthic biodiversity, and possibly a high degree of endemism, which can be associated with isolated seamount systems.
M - - H L M H
3. Seamounts of West Norfolk Ridge
  • Location: North boundary - South of New Caledonia; South boundary- species dependent, around 30°S (south of Norfolk Island) if based on fish communities. (Clive and Roberts 2008; Zintzen 2010).
  • An ecoregional analysis of New Caledonia held in 2005 has identified Seamounts of Norfolk ridge within New Caledonia EEZ as of international relevance based on 8 national criteria.
H H M H H H H
4. Remetau Group: South-west Caroline Islands and northern New Guinea
  • Location: Bounded by 6.9°N, 137.7°E and 2.8°S, 146.6°E at its north-west and south-eastern most limits.
  • The oceanic islands of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), also known as the Caroline Islands, are home to some of the most biologically diverse coral reefs in the world. The area encompasses this priority area and the north-west extent of the Papua New Guinea EEZ. The area supports high seamount diversity, a marine Important Bird Area defined by a key non-breeding foraging concentration of Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas, an area of high tuna catch rates and historically high Sperm whale harvest.
H H M - M M M
5. Kadavu and the Southern Lau Region
  • Location: between 18-23° S, and 173-179° E.
  • Kadavu is the fourth largest island in the Fiji Group, of volcanic origin and is biogeographically connected to the Southern Lau group. Kadavu islands are surrounded by a very productive barrier reef system and have the second largest barrier reef system in Fiji, the Great Astrolobe Reef. It supports two endemic bird species. The Southern Lau islands contain some volcanic islands and several isolated limestone oceanic atoll islands with a range of habitats including seagrass beds, oceanic patch reefs, extensive barrier reef systems, seamounts, submarine canyons and the Lau Ridge. The isolated oceanic conditions provide a distinct range of habitats and species diversity and provide important breeding and nesting areas for seabirds, Green and Hawksbill turtles. The marine area also supports an important migration corridor for a number of great whale species including Humpback, Minke, Sei and Sperm whales, and a number of smaller whales and dolphin species. The area has been identified by OBIS as a very rich and productive fishing ground for all species within the inner reefs, offshore pelagic and deep-water benthic fisheries, and also have typical seamount associated fisheries, corals and invertebrates.
H H H H H H H
6. Kermadec-Tonga-Louisville Junction
  • Location: The area is centred on about 25°S, 175°W.
  • There is a triple junction area at about 25°S, 175°W where the Louisville Seamount Chain subducts into the Kermadec and Tonga Trench region. It features seamount and trench habitat, with specialized fauna in each environment. The Kermadec and Tonga Trenches have endemic species of fish. Scavenging amphipod species are prominent in both trenches. There is a bathyal deep-sea seamount fauna on the Louisville Seamounts.
H - M M M H H
7. Monowai Seamount
  • Location: 25.7 to 25.94°S; longitudes 182.5 to 183.0°W.
  • Monowai seamount comprises an active volcanic cone, with a caldera that has extensive hydrothermal venting at depths of about 1200 m. Vent communities comprise tubeworms, dense beds of bathymodiolid mussels, lithodid crabs, and zoarcid fishes. The seamount is at the northern end of a series of vent communities along the Kermadec back arc which has broadly similar fauna.
H - M M H H H
8. New Britain Trench Region
  • Location: The New Britain Trench and hydrothermal vents clusters is located in the North-east of Papua New Guinea including the passage between New Ireland and New Britain.
  • The southern waters of New Britain lie over the New Britain Trench. The area poses high species productivity and richness. This region extends to include clusters of fishable seamounts and hydrothermal vents aggregation in the western, northern to eastern sides of New Ireland, indicating spots of ecological and biological importance.
M L M M M M H
9. New Hebrides Trench Region
  • Location: Between New Caledonia and Vanuatu, from a northern extent of 17.921°S, 166.975°W to a southern extent of 21.378°S, 170.961°W.
  • The New Hebrides Trench is a large oceanic trench between New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The area extends from the south extent of Papua New Guinea, wrapping around the southern extent of Vanuatu. The New Hebrides Trench region includes both Abyssal and Lower Bathyal features and seamounts within the national jurisdiction of Vanuatu but straddles portion of the New Caledonia waters. The site surrounds three major islands - Efate, Tanna and Erromango. The area covers a range of habitats including seamounts anddeep trenches (up to 7600m deep).
H H - M L H H
10. Rarotonga Outer Reef Slopes
  • Location: located at latitude 21.12°S and longitude 158.46°W.
  • From the currently available data, it shows that the outer reef of Rarotonga contains 12 endemic fish species occurring at depths to 300m but possibly deeper. The available OBIS data indicates that the area contains several IUCN vulnerable and threatened species including corals but other IUCN species such as whales and sharks also inhabit the area. The area also has a high value for shallow water species as reflected in the OBIS data sets.
H - H - - H -
11. Samoan Archipelago
  • Location: Approximately 15 °S and between 166 °W and 174 °W.
  • The Samoan Archipelago consists of 6 islands and 1 atoll in American Samoa, and 2 large islands and 4 islets in Independent Samoa. The islands of the archipelago comprise a biodiversity hotspot within the western South Pacific and they show considerable connectivity, from the micro-faunal (e.g. coral larvae) to the mega-fauna (whales and turtles).
H H H H H H H
12. Suwarrow National Park
  • Location: Suwarrow is a remote atoll in the northern Cook Islands (central Pacific Ocean) at latitude 13.14°S and longitude 163.05°W.
  • Suwarrow is an important seabird breeding and foraging area for several species in the central Pacific Ocean. Suwarrow is a breeding and foraging site for 9% of the global Lesser Frigatebird population and 3% of the global Red-tailed Tropicbird population, however these percentages will be revised in the near future and increase to 13% and 4% respectively. The populations on Suwarrow are recognized as being important for maintaining and managing seabird populations on other islands. The importance of Suwarrow is reflected in its status as an Important Bird Area (IBA), being the most significant seabird nesting and foraging site in the Cook Islands.
- H M - M - -
13. South of Tuvalu/Wallis and Fortuna/North of Fiji Plateau
  • Location: The central point is 12.36°S, 180.122°W.
  • The area has been identified from the high catch activity and high productivity and has multiple large submarine canyons. This pocket of high seas partially sits along the Wallis and Fortuna plateau with a depth ranging from 3000 to 5500+ meters. It has consistent high catches of marlin and tuna, and seamount density. This area contains IUCN red list species; is a turtle migration route; and has a high proportion of potential deep sea coral habitats.
L - M H H M M
14. Vatu-i-Ra/Lomaiviti, Fiji
  • Location: Deep channel and submarine canyons between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu covering Bligh Waters from the edge of the Yasawa Island group and western edge of the Great Sea Reef, through the Vatu-i-Ra Passage, and covering the deep waters around Namena Marine Reserve and islands of Lomaiviti province to the southeast.
  • The Vatu-i-Ra/Lomaiviti region is a hotspot for charismatic megafauna (cetaceans, sharks, turtles, seabirds), as well as a diversity center for deep-sea species. Despite the relatively small overall area, there is a diverse benthic geomorphology, including channels, submarine canyons and seamounts. The area is surrounded by shallow coastal areas with globally significant marine value.
M M H M M H M
15. South Tasman Sea
  • Location: Between 36˚S (NW), 40˚S (NE) and 45˚S (S).
  • The South Tasman Front is an area of rapid change in physical and chemical oceanography, frontal density, and primary productivity. The highest bird densities in the south-west Pacific area occur in this region and it contains foraging areas for both breeding and non-breeding seabirds. Two seamounts in the northwest are categorized as high risk, indicating the likely presence of cold water coral communities that have not been impacted by deep water trawling.
M H H H H M M
16. Equatorial High Productivity Zone
  • Location: latitudes of approximately 5°N to 5°S of the equator, and longitudes of approximately 120°W (the limit of workshop geographic scope) to approximately 165°E.
  • The Central Pacific high productivity zone is a large scale oceanographic feature, comprising the western extent of flow from the Pacific south equatorial current. This westerly flowing cool upwelling tongue of water brings high nutrients to the surface waters of the central Pacific Ocean supporting high primary production over a large area. There is strong benthic-pelagic coupling, with benthic secondary production in the 4000-5000m abyssal plains being strongly related to the surface primary productivity. Historically, high Sperm whale abundance was recorded in this area. This large scale oceanographic feature is highly influenced by El Nino events and is potentially susceptible to climate change.
H L L - H L L
17. Central Louisville Seamount Chain
  • Location: Extends from latitudes 31° S to 40° S and longitudes 172.30° W to 167.00° W.
  • The Louisville Seamount Chain extends 4000km into the western South Pacific east of New Zealand. It is a unique set of oceanic seamounts in this region, with no other features rising to upper bathyal depths between the New Zealand Plateau and the East Pacific Rise. The seamounts host a variety of deepwater fish species, and are spawning grounds for orange roughy. The area has been extensively fished (mainly for orange roughy), but this area has been chosen to include a range of seamount and guyot features which cover a wide variety of topographic characteristics and depths (and hence different habitats and faunal communities), some or parts of which have not been fished. Species records from bycatch in fisheries include cold-water corals, sponges, and deep- sea echinoderms which are frequently found on seamounts around New Zealand. The seamounts are likely to have productive and diverse benthic invertebrate communities, and be important for orange roughy and other fish populations.
H H M M M H M
18. Western South Pacific high aragonite saturation state zone
  • Location: approximately 12 - 16 ° S; 174 - 156 ° W
  • An area of the western south Pacific, located in the South Equatorial Current currently has aragonite saturation rates that are the highest in the present day and are projected to be last to drop below the key thresholds of 3 and 3.5. Therefore, this area has special biological and ecological value as an area where the impact from ocean acidification will be slowest and from which recovery may potentially be the quickest.
H M - - - - -
19. Clipperton Fracture Zone Petrel Foraging Area
  • Location: Bounded by 12.9°N, 137.9°W and 0.2°N and 130.6°W at its North-Western and South-Eastern limits.
  • It encompasses key non-breeding foraging areas for Pycroft's Petrel, a threatened seabird that breeds in northern New Zealand. The area is equatorial and lies on and to the north of the Pacific Equatorial Upwelling zone. This is an area of strong equatorial current and parallel countercurrents which cause ocean mixing and high levels of primary productivity.
M H H M M L M
20. Northern Lord Howe Ridge Petrel Foraging Area
  • Location: Bounded by 22.7°S, 160°W and 31.9°S and 165.9°W at its North-Western and South-Eastern limits.
  • The area qualifies as an Important Bird Area under BirdLife criteria and has primarily been identified as the core foraging area for the endemic New Caledonian subspecies of Gould's Petrel Pterodroma leucoptera caledonica (representing 50-65% of the global population). As well as being important as a foraging area, the area has been shown to be used in transit by birds moving to foraging grounds further to the south.
M H M M - L -
21. Northern New Zealand/South Fiji Basin
  • Location: Extends from the South Fiji basin to the north of New Zealand and west of the Kermadec Ridge centered on 31°S, 176°E.
  • It encompasses key foraging areas utilized by breeding Parkinson's Petrel, a threatened seabird that breeds on Great Barrier and Little Barrier islands in northern New Zealand.
M H H H L L -
22. Taveuni and Ringgold Islands
  • Location: North-east Fiji Islands encompassing Taveuni and the Ringgold Islands centred on 16°S, 179°W.
  • This area on the waters surrounding the north-east Fiji Islands supports a diverse array of communities and habitats within a compact area. It supports globally and regionally significant populations of marine turtles, Humpback whales, seabirds, semi-nomadic reef fish, and is projected to hold concentrations of cold-water corals. The area represents key foraging areas surrounding Fiji's most significant nesting sites for Hawksbill and Green Turtles, and the last remaining nesting site in Fiji for the latter. It also encompasses four marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) that identify foraging areas based upon seaward extensions around nesting colonies.
L H H M M M M
23. Manihiki Plateau
  • Location: Approximately 155° W, 18° S.
  • The Manihiki Plateau is an oceanic plateau in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The Manihiki Plateau was formed by volcanic activity 125 to 120 million years ago during the mid-Cretaceous period at a triple junction plate boundary called the Tongareva triple junction. Surveys over a long period, aimed at identifying important deposits of sea bed minerals, have observed that there are sediment eating organisms present, but these have not been identified.
M L - L M L M
24. Niue Island and Beveridge Reef
  • Location: Around Niue, 19°S, 169.50°W, extending south-east for 125 nautical miles to encompass Beveridge Reef.
  • The isolated island of Niue is the world's largest single coral island, and is not part of any archipelago. The waters around Niue have been identified as a part of an important migratory route for endangered humpback whales. A number of other endangered marine mammals have been sighted in Niue's waters. The endemic black banded sea krate is also reported to be found from near shore areas out to approximately 100 km from Niue fringing reef. Beveridge reef is an isolated patch reef rising sharply from the sea floor, and is included in this area as it is likely to contain some endemic species due to this isolation.
H - M - L - M
25. Palau Southwest
  • Location: Deep ocean area south-west of the main Palauan archipelago.
  • This area contains a number of notable characteristics with regards to offshore oceanic environments. Within the region, this convergence of clustered sea mounts, high-energy eddies, and various deep-water benthic communities suggest a potential counterpoint for interactions between deep-sea, pelagic marine and oceanic-going avian species.
M M M - - M L
26. Tonga Archipelago
  • Location: Between 15°S and 23° 30" S, and 173° to 177° W.
  • The waters surrounding the islands of the Tongan Archipelago contain unique geomorphic features, notably the Tonga Trench. It is the most important breeding location for the endangered Oceania population of humpback whales and supports globally-significant populations of eight seabird species.
H H H H M M M
 
Table 2
Description of areas meeting criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in Wider Caribbean and Western Mid-Atlantic region
(Details are described in the appendix to annex 4 of the report of the Regional Workshop on EBSAs, in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/7)
For key to criteria, see above
Location and brief description of areas C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7
1. Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
  • Location: The Mesoamerican Reef region is comprised of continuous barrier reef, over 1000 km long, considered to be the second largest in the western Hemisphere. It runs parallel to the coast, starting in the northernmost Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, through Belize and Guatemala all the way up to the Bay Islands in Honduras.
  • The reef supports the second longest barrier reef in the world, a diverse array of fauna and flora, numerous rich nursery/feeding grounds and oceanic waters important for larval transport and dispersion. The rich resources in the region have important ecological, aesthetic, and cultural value to its inhabitants. Productive fishing grounds support valuable commercial and artisanal fisheries. Millions of tourists, attracted to the sandy beaches and teeming reefs, provide important economic revenue to the people and their governments.
H H H H H H M
2. Miskito Cays
  • Location: 14°25'42.14"N, 82°47'6.72" W
  • This area, part of the Nicaraguan National System of Protected Areas, has been recognized by RAMSAR and is identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International. It covers 512 ha and includes the Miskito Cays and other land formations. It contains seagrass beds (Thalassia testudinum) that provide food for sea turtles and afford protection to various species of fish in the larva and juvenile stages. It is estimated that at least 300 species of fish live here, including dogfish sharks and rays in the waters of the autonomous regions. In addition, some 120 fish species have been found to inhabit the coral reefs. Less than 5 per cent of these species are currently being exploited. These include snappers (Lutjanidae), sea basses (Serranidae), robalos (Centropomidae) and sharks (Carcharhinidae).
M M M M M H H
3. Corn Island
  • Location: 12° 6'37.61"N, 82°20'28.77"W
  • There is general information on the biology of approximately 300 species of fish living in the shallow waters off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua; information on deep-water fish found along the continental shelf slope has recently been compiled, including species of snapper (Lutjanidae) and sea bass; they contribute to the second-largest group of deep-water fish captured. All these species are found throughout the Caribbean. They are related to a specific substratum of deep-water habitat, and each species apparently has a close relationship with its habitat, unlike the types of fish that swim constantly, such as pelagic fish.
M M L M M M M
4. Tortuguero - Barra del Colorado
  • Location: Extends north from Tortuguero National park to Barra del Colorado in the border with Nicaragua.
  • The Tortuguero-Barra del Colorado area has been broadly studied for more than five decades (since 1955) due to its significance for the natural history of marine turtles, especially green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Tortuguero beach is known as the largest remaining green turtle rookery in the Atlantic (Troeng 2005). The area is also used by leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) and in rare occasions by hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata). The Tortuguero-Barra del Colorado area also includes coastal lagoons, marine bird nesting and feeding areas, manatee concentration areas and sea turtle aggregation and nesting areas.
H H H H H H H
5. Cahuita - Gandoca
  • Location: Extends south from Cahuita National Park to the mouth of the Sixaola River in the border with Panama.
  • The areas of Cahuita and Gandoca-Manzanillo contain important patches of seagrasses (Thalassia testudinum) as well as the most important coral reef areas in the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Cahuita is the site with the highest reef- building diversity in Costa Rica (31 species) as well as a high diversity of octocorals (19 species). In Gandoca, the most important mangrove area of the Costa Rican Caribbean is found, associated with a coastal lagoon. Gandoca also presents leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) seaturtle nesting areas. Finally, the proposed area also presents aggregation areas for the spiny lobster, conch, tucuxi dolphins, manatees and marine bird feeding areas.
H H H H H H M
6. Pedro Bank, Southern Channel and Morant
  • Location: oceanic waters south-east to south-west of Jamaica and encompasses from Jamaica Pedro Bank and Cays (16° 43° N and 17° 35° N and 77° 20°W and 79° 02° W); the Morant Cays and deep channels around; from Honduras and Nicaragua the Rosalind Bank (16°26'N 80°31'W; 16.433°N 80.517°W and 16.433; -80.517), and from Colombia and Jamaica; the Serranilla Bank (15° 41°- 16°04'N and 80°03' - 79° 40°W), Alice Bank (15° 57°- 16° 10°N and 79° 28° - 79° 16°W) and New Bank (15° 47° - 15° 56°N and 78° 49° - 78° 31°W).
  • This area contains remote atolls with their associated banks and deep sea areas. They appear to share common oceanic dynamics which demonstrate relatively high biological diversity and productivity developed within an array of complex structured benthic habitats and complex bathymetry. At present, the entire area provides substantial queen conch, spiny lobster and reef fish fisheries which are threatened by the lack of regional considerations for its sustainable use.
H H M M M H H
8. Caracol/Ft. Liberté/Monte Cristi (Northern Hispaniola Binational Area)
  • Location: Northeastern Haiti
  • Characterized by fringing/barrier reef, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds
L M M H M L L
9. Marine Mammal Sanctuary Banco de la Plata y Banco de la Navidad
  • Location: Located about 80 nautical miles off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, extends from the western boundary of the Silver Bank of Bank of Christmas to the Bay of Samana from Punta Balandra and Miches.
  • This area represents unique environment for the reproduction of North Atlantic humpbacks whales. Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) come from the high latitudes of the North Atlantic, to the waters of the Dominican Republic for reproduction activities between December and April each year. Of all the whales that make this migration, 85% of these whales visit the areas off short banks of the Banco de la Plata and Banco de la Navidad and Samana Bay.
H H H H L H L
10. Seaflower
  • Location: Seaflower is an open-ocean area surrounding the inhabited islands and including the coastal and oceanic coral reefs of the San Andres Archipelago, which is a Colombian administrative department in the south-western Caribbean.
  • This area contains the largest, most productive open-ocean coral reefs in the Caribbean; provides rare, unique and unusual reef environments; contains remote areas demonstrating high integrity and little anthropogenic influence; and displays a continuum of habitats that support significant levels of marine biodiversity. With the presence of 192 Red-Listed species, it is an important site for the conservation of endangered and threatened species of global concern.
H H H H - H H
11. Saba Bank
  • Location: 17.25°N, 63.03°W
  • The Saba Bank is a unique and highly significant area. Biophysically it is a submerged atoll, the largest actively growing atoll in the Caribbean, and one of the largest atolls in the world, measuring 1,850 km2 (above 50m depth contour). This area is significant in terms of its unique ecological, socio-economic, scientific and cultural characteristics, with extensive coral reefs, fishing grounds and algal beds.
H H H H H H H
12. Eastern Caribbean
  • Location: The islands arc from Anguilla located at 18°12'80'' N and 63°03'00'' W and curve around to Tobago located at 10° 2' to 11° 12' N and 60° 30' to 61° 56' W.
  • This area harbours a variety of rich ecosystems associated with small islands masses, many being volcanic and some being limestone in origin. The region supports many productive ecosystems, such as coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps. It is also home to unusual features such as a major underwater volcano, Kick Em Jelly (Grenada), and hydrothermal vents and seamounts. This area harbours significant larval stocks, which potentially serve as a source for commercially important species such as the Caribbean Spiny lobster and Queen Conch. This area also provides essential conditions for the survival of several migratory species such as turtles, fishes and sea birds.
M M H H L H M
13. The Sargasso Sea
  • Location: The Sargasso Sea is surrounded by the Gulf Stream to the west, the North Atlantic Drift to the north, the more diffuse Canary Current to the east, and the North Equatorial Current and the Antilles Current to the south, extending between 22° - 38°N and 76° - 43°W, centred on 30°N and 60°W.
  • The Sargasso Sea is home to an iconic pelagic ecosystem with the floating Sargassum seaweeds, the world's only holopelagic algae, as its cornerstone. It hosts a diverse community of associated organisms that includes ten endemic species, and provides essential habitat for key life stages of a wide diversity of species, many of which are endangered or threatened. The Sargasso Sea is the only breeding location for European and American eels, the former being listed as critically endangered, and is on the migration route of numerous other iconic and endangered species. A variety of oceanographic processes impact productivity and species diversity, and the area plays a disproportionately large role in global ocean processes of oxygen production and carbon sequestration. The sea floor has two large seamount chains, home to specialized, fragile and endemic communities, and models predict the presence of numerous other isolated seamounts.
H H H H H H M
14. Sinu Continental Margin
  • Location: The Sinu Continental Margin region includes sites that extend from latitude 9 12'14''N to 10 4'38''N and between longitudes 76 34'30''W and 76 6'59''W.
  • The Sinu Continental Margin region is found in the southern Caribbean off the Colombian coast at a depth of 180 to 1000 m; it is characterized by the presence of geological formations that are typical of water flow systems, such as canals, canyons and continental aprons, and structural forms such as ridges, slopes, domes and troughs, which are associated with a high level of biodiversity. Deep-water corals are also present, especially Madracis myriaster, whose significance is growing from an ecological point of view. The presence of oxidizing methane at cold seeps is also becoming more environmentally important. Because of their natural status, these sites, meet the criteria for EBSAs in the southern Caribbean region, although the possibility of future hydrocarbon exploration makes this region vulnerable.
H - - H M H H
15. Oceanic bottoms of Magdalena and Tayrona
  • Location: The Oceanic bottoms of Magdalena and Tayrona include the area that extend from latitude 11°3'34''N to 11° 55'40''N and between longitudes 75° 33'3''W and 74° 2'28''W.
  • The Oceanic bottoms of Magdalena and Tayrona region is located in the central sector of the Caribbean coast of Colombia at a depth of 200 to 3000 m. It is characterized by the presence of canyons and seamounts associated with high biodiversity. It also has deep-water corals, especially Madracis myriaster, which are becoming increasingly important in environmental terms. Because of their natural status, these sites meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in the southern Caribbean region.
H - - H - H H
16. Amazonian-Orinoco Influence Zone
  • Location: N 14.517°, E: -45.144°, S: -0.565°, W: -60.981° (The proposed area encompasses the productivity flow from Northern Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Eastern Trinidad.)
  • This area encompasses the productivity flow from Northern Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Eastern Trinidad. The Orinoco River drains an area of 1.1 x 10 6 km2 within Venezuela (70%) and Colombia (30%). Together with the Amazon, these two major rivers play an extremely important role in transporting dissolved and particulate materials from terrestrial areas to the coasts and open ocean. Their impact is evidenced by the overall extremely high productivity associated with the marine area extending from northern Brazil, to French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, all the way to Trinidad and Tobago. Associated with this high productivity are high levels of biodiversity inclusive of endangered, threatened and endemic species of turtles, mammals, invertebrates, fishes and birds.
H H H H H H H
17. Parcel do Manuel Luiz e Banco do Álvaro
  • Location: Covers two main areas including Parcel do Manuel Luiz (69 km2 centred on 00o50'S, 044 o15'W) and Banco do Álvaro (30 km2 centred on 00 o 17.5'S, 044 o 49.5'W)
  • Parcel do Manuel Luiz is the most northern coral communities known in Brazil. In some areas milleporids predominate on the reef walls, followed by the octocoral Phyllogorgia dilatata (endemic to Brazil). There are records of 50% of the Brazilian hard corals species in the area, six of which were not previously reported in the Northeastern adjacent coast. The fire coral Millepora laboreli is endemic to the area and has been recently included as EN in the Brazilian List of Endangered Species. The presence and great abundance of Caribbean reef organisms, which do not occur along the eastern coast of South America, provide additional evidence that these reefs may be one of the main faunal stepping stones between the Caribbean and the Brazilian coast. This area represents an important area of feeding and reproduction of elasmobranchs.
M M H H - H H
18. Banks chain of northern Brazil and Fernando de Noronha
  • Location: Covers the North Brazilian Chain (1 ° S to 4 ° S / 37 ° W to 39 W) and Fernando de Noronha Chain (3 ° to 5 ° S / 32 ° to 38 ° W).
  • The North Brazil Current interacts with the submarine topography generating upwellings that promote productivity. Chains are inserted in oligotrophic environment and Fernando de Noronha, and Rocas Atoll provides a "hotspot" due to the presence of coral reef formations, high biodiversity and endemism. The area is a spawning site and / or feeding site for turtles, elasmobranchs, reef fish and pelagic fish. The area is a feeding site for breeding seabirds at Fernando de Noronha and covers part of the most important seabird migration corridor in the Atlantic, both sites which qualify as Important Bird Area (IBA) for both threatened species and congregations. Some birds, elasmobranchs and turtles species listed in the IUCN red list as threatened occur in the area. Sharks, reef fishes and lobsters are target for fisheries carried out in the region. Fishing exploitation is a traditional activity in the area. Sea turtles are also subject to incidental catch by pelagic longline and ghost nets. The Rocas Atoll has the highest rate of endemism in the region and Fernando de Noronha has the highest species richness when compared to other Brazilian oceanic islands. Fernando de Noronha and Rocas Atoll fauna display great similarity which is attributed to the presence of shallow oceanic banks that function as stepstones in the area. Larvae of coastal species suggest connectivity with the continental slope area.
H H H M M H H
19. Northeastern Brazil Shelf-Edge Zone
  • Location: The north-eastern shelf-edge zone extends along the Brazilian outer shelf and upper slope, from depths of 40m to 2000m and between parallels 3°S to 16°S, from south Bahia up to the Ceará states, where the Brazilian continental shelf is narrow and breaks abruptly at depths between 50 to 80m.
  • The continental shelf-edge zone is a marine ecotone where different components of the demersal, benthic and benthopelagic communities of the continental shelf, upper slope and adjacent pelagic biota coexist in a narrow strip along the continental margin. Biogenic reef formations associated with outer shelf channels, ravines and deeper canyons represent important traditional fishing grounds. The northeastern Brazilian shelf-edge zone contains distinct habitats and unusual geomorphological features such as shelf-edge reefs that represent a last refuge for some rare or endemic reef fishes distributed across the continental margin, including threatened (IUCN) commercial species of the snapper-grouper complex, currently depleted at the Brazilian EEZ jurisdiction. The shelf-edge harbour critical habitats for the life cycle of many sea turtles, whales, sharks and reef fish species, including migratory corridors and fish spawning aggregation sites. The area covers part of the most important seabird migration corridor in the Atlantic, a site which qualifies as a Birdlife Important Bird Area (IBA) for both threatened species and congregations. This region corresponds to a portion of the breeding ground of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) off the north- eastern coast of Brazil.
M H H H L H M
20. Atlantic Equatorial Fracture Zone and high productivity system
  • Location: The area extends approximately 1.9 m km2 across the Equatorial Atlantic Ocean from the western border of the Guinea Basin (10°W) in the east to the northeast limit of Brazilian continental margin (32°W) in the west.
  • The area combines both benthic and pelagic habitats of the Equatorial Atlantic, as defined by the seafloor topography, surface and deepwater circulation patterns and the equatorial primary productivity regimes. It can also be characterized by particular pelagic and benthic biodiversity patterns.
H H M M H H M
21. Abrolhos Bank and Vitória-Trindade Chain
  • Location: The Abrolhos Region is an enlargement of the Brazilian continental shelf located in the eastern shore of Brazil, in the southern of Bahia and northern of Espãrito Santo States.
  • Abrolhos Bank harbours the highest marine biodiversity in the South Atlantic, the largest coral reefs in Brazil, and relatively large populations of several endemic and endangered marine species. It presents a mosaic of different habitats, like mangroves, seagrasses meadows, rhodolith beds, submerged and emergent reefs, and a group of small volcanic islands. Abrolhos also has unique biological formations, such as the large mushroom shaped reef formations - "chapeirões", and unique geological formations, such as the "buracas" - distinctive depressions in the shelf plain (up to 20 meters deep and 70 meters large). The region is an important breeding and/or fishing site for several flagship species such as humpback whales, sea turtles and sea birds.
  • The Vitória Trindade Chain, located on the central coast of Brazil, is composed of seven seamounts and an island complex (Archipelago of Trinidad and Martin Vaz). The substrate of the mountains and ocean islands is composed of living reefs of coralline algae, on which is also observed the presence of different species of corals, sponges and algae. The mountains and islands have a fauna of reef fish that is still preserved, with a significant biomass and abundance of species, harbouring many sharks and spawning aggregation phenomena of important fishery resources. Moreover, the reef fish fauna includes at least 11 endemic species. Also, this area is the only breeding site for three endemic populations of seabirds, the Trindade petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana), the Atlantic lesser frigatebird (Fregata minor nicolli), and the Atlantic greater frigatebird (Fregata ariel trinitiatis).
H H H H M H M
22. Southern Brazilian Sea *
  • Location: Extending from Chuã (Brazil-Uruguay boundary) (ca. 34°S) to the proximity of the Santa Marta Grande Cape (Santa Catarina State) (ca. 29°S). The western and eastern limits are the shoreline (ca. 53°W) and the 4000 m isobath (ca. 39°W), respectively.
  • Interactions between the Subtropical Convergence, continental runoff from the La Plata River (Argentina/Uruguay) and Patos Lagoon, and topographic features favors high biological productivity, and make this area an important reproduction, nursery and feeding grounds for pelagic and demersal fish stocks and a crucial feeding ground for threatened cetacean, seabirds and marine turtles species.
M H H M H M L
Note: There is no area number 7.
Table 3
Description of areas that could meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in the Mediterranean region
(Each area is described by some polygons presented in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/8)
Explanation of scores: how important is the polygon for the criterion?
4 = completely; 3 = a lot; 2 = somewhat; 1 = a little; 0 = not at all
Name of the area No. Name of polygon C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 Notes
Alboran Sea 1 Djibouti Seamount 4 3 4 4 4 4 3
2 Alborán Crest 4 3 4 4 4 4 3
3 Motril Seamount 4 3 4 4 4 4 3
4 Seco de los Olivos Seamount 4 3 4 4 4 4 3
5 E Malaga coast 2 3 3 2 3 3 2 Not ABNJ: Important foraging ground for seabirds within the Alborán context.
6 Bay of Almeria 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Not ABNJ: important breeding colonies of gulls and terns that use the adjacent sea to forage
7 Alborán island 3 3 3 3 2 2 4 Holds one of the most important colonies of Audouin's gull in the world
8 Chafarinas Islands 3 4 4 4 3 3 4 Not ABNJ: holds the second most important colony of Audouin's gull at global level
9 Al-Mansour Seamount
10 Torrox Seamount
11 Gibraltar Strait 4 3 3 2 3 4 1 Unique location is key for long-term survival of seabird populations that move between Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean
12 Alborán Sea 3 3 3 2 3 3 2 Area of high (primary) productivity: acts as feeding area for locally-breeding bird populations, as winter area and most importantly for migration/passage
13 Seco de los Olivos Seamount 3 3 4 4 3 4 2 Presence of black corals, red coral, sponges, gorgonian gardens, coralligenous, maerl, marine turtles, cetaceans and commercial species.
14 Alborán and Algerian 0 2 3 1 2 1 2 Loggerhead turtle habitat
15 Polygon 4 3 Scyliorhinus canicula nursery area
16 Alborán Sea 2 4 4 3 4 3 1 Common dolphin, striped dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, pilot whale
89 SW Alborán 2 3 0 0 3 2 0 Important suitable habitat for small pelagics (sardines and/or anchovies)
Balearic Islands area 17 Aguilas Seamount
18 Emile Baudot Seamount
21 Balearic Sea 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 Bluefin tuna spawning ground, sperm whale habitat
23 Ebro River system 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 Key area for feeding of globally-threatened and other seabird species of conservation concern that concentrate for breeding in Ebro Delta (gulls, terns) and in Balearic Is (shearwaters)
25 Palos Seamount 4 3 4 4 4 3 3 Corals, gorgonian gardens, sponges, marine turtles, cetaceans, elasmobranchs and commercial species.
26 Emile Baudot Seamount 3 3 4 3 2 4 3 Coralligenous, maërl, gorgonian gardens, corals (included some black corals), bryozoans, marine turtles, cetaceans and commercial species.
27 Menorca Canyon 3 3 3 3 4 4 2 Gorgonian gardens, corals, sponges, coralligenous, maërl, sharks and commercial species.
30 Spanish shelf + Balearic 0 2 3 2 2 2 2 Loggerhead turtle habitat
90 Balearic Sea Important habitat for sperm whales
Gulf of Lions area 19 Palamos Canyon
20 Cap de Creus Canyon 4 3 4 4 2 4 3 Lophelia, Madrepora, 218 m, ROV, submersible (Orejas et al. 2008)
22 Gulf of Lion 3 3 3 4 High primary productivity of pelagic waters
24 Gulf of Lion - Hyères Islands 2 3 3 3 3 3 2 High-productivity area; important for feeding of globally-threatened and other seabird species of conservation concern: Procellariiforms from Hyères, Corsica & Balearics, gulls & terns from Camargue, wintering seabirds from Atlantic
28 Gulf of Lion - fin whale habitat 3 4 1 2 4 4 0
29 Gulf of Lion - striped dolphin habitat 2 2 1 2 2 4 0
73 Gulf of Lion canyons Lacaze-Duthiers Canyon, Madrepora, at 300 m, submersible, dredges (Zibrowius 2003), Cassidaigne Canyon, Madrepora, 210-510 m, submersible (Bourcier & Zibrowius 1973)
81 Catalan coast 1 3 0 0 3 2 0 Important suitable habitat for small pelagics (sardines and/or anchovies)
Tyrrhenian Sea 31 Polygon 5 3 Galeus melastomus nursery area
32 N Tyrrhenian 2 1 2 High primary productivity of pelagic waters
33 Corsica - Sardinia - Tuscan Is. 1 2 3 2 2 2 2 Important area for feeding of endemic and other seabird species of conservation concern that concentrate for breeding in Corsica-Sardinia-Tuscan archipelagos
36 Polygon 10 3 3 3 3 3 Scyliorhinus canicula, Raja clavata, R. asterias, Carcharinus brachyurus, Galeus melastomus, Etmopterus spinax nursery area
37 Polygon 11 3 Squatina oculata probable nursery area
38 Polygon 5 bis 3 Scyliorhinus canicula nursery area
Tunisian Plateau 40 Bluefin tuna breeding area 3 4 4 4 1 3 3
41 Tunisia Plateau area 1 2 3 3 Carcharodon carcharias nursery area
42 Tunisia Plateau area 2 2 3 3 Several batoids and white shark nursery, loggerhead turtle feeding and wintering area, Maerl beds
43 Strait of Sicily 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 High-productivity area: important for feeding of Procellariiforms nesting in Tunisia (Zembra is), Sicily (Egadi is) and Pantelleria
44 Malta - Outer Gabés 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 New data from BirdLife Malta LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater Project show importance of the extensive area SE of Malta for feeding of this Mediterranean endemic species.
45 Tunisian - Inner Gabés 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 Loggerhead turtle habitat
46 Strait of Sicily, Ionian 0 2 3 1 2 1 2 Loggerhead turtle habitat
47 Polygon 8 3 Carcharodon carcharias probable nursery area
48 Polygon 9 3 3 Carcharodon carcharias probable nursery area
49 Waters around Lampedusa 2 4 3 3 4 2 2 Fin whale winter feeding grounds
50 Waters around Malta 1 4 3 3 2 1 2 Common dolphin
74 Lophelia, Madrepora in Strait of Sicily Urania Bank, Lophelia, Madrepora, 509-613 m, ROV (this study), Linosa Trough, Lophelia, Madrepora, 669-679 m, ROV (this study), off Malta, Lophelia, Madrepora, 453-612 m, ROV (this study), off Malta, Lophelia, Madrepora, 392-617 m, demersal trawl (Schembri et al. 2007)
87 Inner Tunisian Plateau, N part 2
88 SW Sicily 2 3 0 0 3 2 0 Important suitable habitat for small pelagics (sardines and/or anchovies)
Adriatic Sea 51 Northern and central Adriatic 0 3 3 3 3 3 2 Loggerhead turtle habitat
52 Polygon 1 2 2 2 Squalus acanthias nursery area
53 Polygon 2 3 Scyliorhinus canicula nursery area
82 Central western Adriatic 1 3 0 0 3 2 0 Important suitable habitat for small pelagics (sardines and/or anchovies)
Ionian Sea 54 Ionian 0 2 3 1 2 1 2 Loggerhead turtle habitat
55 Polygon 6 3 Raja clavata nursery area
56 Eastern Ionian Sea 1 4 4 3 3 2 2 Common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Cuvier's beaked whales, fin whales, sperm whales
75 Lophelia and Madrepora in Gulf of Taranto Santa Maria di Leuca, Lophelia, Madrepora, 300-1100 m, dredges, ROV (Taviani et al. 2005a, this study), off Gallipoli, Lophelia, Madrepora, 603-744 m, ROV (this study)
78 Lophelia reefs
Aegean Sea 59 Northern Aegean Sea 2 4 4 3 3 2 2 Common dolphin, harbour porpoise, monk seal, beaked whale
77 Lophelia and Madrepora reefs off Thasos Off Thasos, Lophelia, Madrepora, 300-350 m, dredging (Vafidis et al. 1997)
83 N West Aegean 2 3 0 0 3 2 0 Important suitable habitat for small pelagics (sardines and/or anchovies)
84 N Aegean 2 3 0 0 3 2 0 Important suitable habitat for small pelagics (sardines and/or anchovies)
Levantine Sea 57 Hellenic Trench 2 4 4 3 4 3 2 Sperm whales, Cuvier's beaked whales
61 Bluefin tuna breeding area 3 4 4 4 1 3 3
62 Bluefin tuna breeding area 3 4 3 1 0 0 0 Importance: One of the 3 spawning grounds of Blue Fin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus)
63 Monk seal 1 4 4 4 2 0 0 2 Not ABNJ. Importance: The largest and the only viable monk seal colony along the Turkish coast
64 Monk seal 2 4 3 3 4 2 2 3 Not ABNJ. Importance: Very pristine area, intact Cystoseira and Posidonia meadows; important (breeding) habitat for seal, breeding site for Audouin's Gull (Larus audouini).
66 Rhodes Gyre 4 3 2 1 4 2 0 Very significant oceanographic feature driven by strong upwelling. Biological importance is not well known however we have sampled significant amount of egg and larvae (Clupeid and Swordfish) on the periphery of the upwelling region. The region is rich in Cephalopods. Therefore the region may also be important for Cetaceans (the largest number of whale stranding from Turkish fishermen are reported there).
67 Rhodes Gyre 3 2 4 High primary productivity of pelagic waters
69 Cyprus - Turkey - Syria 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 Loggerhead and green turtle habitat
70 Polygon 7 3 Rhinobatos rhinobatos nursery area
71 Off S Turkey, Syria 1 4 4 3 4 2 2 Beaked whales, monk seal
79 Eratosthenes Seamount
86 Rhodes Gyre 3
Nile Delta sea area 68 Egyptian shelf 0 3 3 3 3 3 2 Loggerhead and green turtle habitat
72 Off Nile Delta, S Israel 2 3 3 3 3 2 1 Common dolphin
80 Cold seeps

22 Noting that any measures taken with respect to the areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas described in reports referred to in this paragraph, including any selection of conservation and management measures, must be in conformity with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
23 The designations employed and the presentation of material in this annex do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
* This area was originally contained in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/5/Add.1 but was temporarily removed from the annex to SBSTTA XVI/4. It is reinstated following consultations with the Parties concerned.
XI/16 XI/18

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  • United Nations Environment Programme