In response to Israel’s beaches being added as an important aquatic mammal habitat, Israeli dolphin center director says, ‘Israel is a beam of light in the darkness of a lack of information about marine mammals in eastern Mediterranean.’
By Dan Lavie
The beaches of Israel have been declared an important habitat for dolphins by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Widely considered the world’s most important international entity in the field of nature protection, the IUCN is known for its “red lists” of endangered species.
Israel was one of 26 spots in the Mediterranean region named as being of importance to marine mammal life after a yearlong scientific process by the IUCN. The process involved convening a panel of experts that included representatives from every Mediterranean country. Israel was represented by Dr. Aviad Scheinin, director of the Dolphin and Sea Educational Center in Ashdod, run by the nonprofit Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center and the Morris Kahn Marine Research Center at the University of Haifa.
The designation of Israel’s coastal waters as an important habitat for dolphins could help promote a proposal the marine mammal research center recently submitted to various government ministries, first reported by Israel Hayom.
The proposal includes a list of recommended steps to protect the marine mammal population as part of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area.
The agreement is a legal conservation tool based on cooperation that aims to reduce threats to cetaceans, notably by improving current knowledge on these animals. Israel is one of the few countries that is not a signatory.
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