Agreement Concerning The Creation Of A Marine Mammal Sanctuary In The Mediterranean

Filename: 1999-ConcerningCreationMarineMammalSanctuaryMediterranean.EN.txt


Source: (Unofficial English translation provided by the Internet Guide to International Fisheries Law)

The Parties to the present Agreement:

Considering the threats encountered by Mediterranean marine mammals and in particular to their habitats,

Considering that in the Mediterranean Sea there is an area within the distribution range of these animals, that is of particular importance for their conservation,

Considering that according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the area in question is in part constituted by waters with respect to which each of the Contracting Parties exercises its sovereignty or jurisdiction,

Considering that the European Community as regards two of the State parties exercises complete competence in the field of conservation and management of living aquatic marine resources; that the technical conservation measures for fishery resources in the Mediterranean are currently established by EC Council Regulation No. 1626/94 of 27 June 1994,

Recognizing that as regards two of the State parties, the provisions that will be adopted in the application of the present Agreement cannot prejudice the relevant Community principles and provisions, nor put in question their obligations and duties as EC Member States,

Keeping in mind the treaties and the other relevant international instruments, namely,

- the Conventions on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Fauna and the on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Habitats,

- the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and the Agreement for the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Mediterranean and Black Seas and Contiguous Atlantic Areas,

- the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, and its relative Protocols,

Wishing to take action for the conservation of Mediterranean marine mammals,

have agreed as follows:

Article 1

With respect to the present Agreement:

a) conservation status is deemed to be "favourable" when the knowledge on the populations indicate that the marine mammal species of the region are maintaining themselves as a viable component of their ecosystem.

b) the term "habitat" means any part of the range area of marine mammals, temporarily or permanently occupied by them, and utilized in particular for reproductive, birthing or feeding activities as well as a migration route.

c) the term "taking" means the hunting, the capturing, the killing and the harassment of marine mammals including the attempt to conduct such activities.

Article 2

1. The parties establish a marine sanctuary within the area of the Mediterranean Sea as defined in article 3, whose biological diversity and richness represent an indispensable attribute for the protection of marine mammals and their habitats.

2. The Parties will protect all species of marine mammals within the Sanctuary.

Article 3

The sanctuary is composed of maritime areas situated within the internal waters and territorial seas of the French Republic, the Italian Republic and the Principality of Monaco, as well as portions of adjacent high seas. The limits of the sanctuary are the following:

- to the west, a line extending from Point Escampobariou (western point of the Giens peninsula: 43º01'70'N, 06º05"90''E) to Cape Falcone, situated on the western coast of the island of Sardinia (40º58'00''N, 008º12'00''E),

- to the east, a line extending from Cape Ferro, situated on the north-eastern coast of Sardinia (41º09'18''N, 009º31'18''E) to Fosso Chiarone, situated on the western Italian coast (42º21'24''N, 011º31'00''E).

Article 4

The Parties undertake to adopt within the sanctuary, the appropriate measures mentioned in the following articles, so as to ensure the favourable conservation status of marine mammals, by protecting both them and their habitat, from any negative direct or indirect impacts resulting from human activities.

Article 5

The Parties shall cooperate with the intent of periodically assessing marine mammal population status, the causes of mortality and the threats to their habitat and in particular on their biological functions such as feeding and reproductive activities.

Article 6

1. Taking into account their international obligations, the Parties shall conduct monitoring activities within the Sanctuary and shall intensify the fight against any form of pollution, whether of maritime or land-based origin having or likely to have a direct or indirect impact on the conservation status of marine mammals.

2. The Parties will adopt national strategies aimed at phasing out the release of toxic compounds within the sanctuary, giving priority to substances listed in Annex I of the Protocol against Pollution from Land Based Sources and Activities of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution.

Article 7

Within the Sanctuary the Parties:

a) shall prohibit any deliberate take or intentional disturbance of marine mammals; nevertheless the non-lethal take of individuals shall be authorized in case of emergency situations or within the scope of scientific activities carried out "in situ" and in compliance with the terms of this Agreement,

b) shall comply with international regulations and those of the European Community, regarding the use and the keeping of fishing equipment known as "pelagic drift net",

c) shall exchange views, as deemed necessary, to promote in the appropriate fora and after scientific evaluation, the adoption of regulations relating to the use of new fishing equipment that could result in the indirect capture of marine mammals or that could endanger their sources of prey, while also considering the risk of loss of or deliberate disposal of fishing equipment at sea.

Article 8

In the sanctuary, Parties shall regulate the watching of marine mammals for touristic purposes.

Article 9

The Parties shall exchange views with the aim of regulating and if appropriate, forbidding high-speed motorboat competitions within the Sanctuary.

Article 10

The Parties shall exchange their views in order to harmonies, as far as possible, the regulation measures pursuant to the previous articles.

Article 11

Without prejudice to the relevant provisions of international law and if appropriate of the European Community regulations, nothing in the preceding provisions shall prevent the Parties from enacting stricter national regulation measures.

Article 12

1. The Parties shall hold regular meetings for the implementation and the follow-up of the present Agreement. The Parties shall establish the organizational aspects required for such meetings taking into account the presence of already existing structures.

2. In this framework they shall favour and encourage:

a) national and international research programs geared to establish the scientific aspects of application of the present Agreement;

b) awareness-building campaigns geared at professional and other marine users, and non-governmental organizations, with particular emphasis on campaigns regarding the prevention of collision between vessels and marine mammals and the need to communicate the presence of dead or distressed mammals to the competent local authorities.

Article 13

In order to ensure the application of the measures included in the present Agreement the Parties appeal, in particular, to the authorities responsible for maritime patrolling. They agree to exchange all relevant information recorded in this context. To this end, the Parties shall facilitate the mutual use of their air and maritime ports through simplified procedures.

Article 14

1. In the part of the Sanctuary located within the waters subject to its sovereignty or jurisdiction, each of the State Parties to the present Agreement is responsible for the application of the relevant provisions.

2. In the other parts of the sanctuary, each of the State Parties is responsible for the application of the provisions of the present Agreement with respect to ships flying its flag as well as, within the limits provided for by the rules of international law, with respect to ships flying the flag of third States.

Article 15

Nothing in the present Agreement will prejudice the sovereign immunity of warships or other ships owned or operated by a State while engaged in government non-commercial service. However, each Contracting Party shall ensure that its vessels and aircraft entitled to sovereign immunity under international law, act in a manner consistent with the present Agreement.

Article 16

As soon as the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean enters into force for them, the Parties will present a joint proposal for inclusion of the sanctuary in the list of specially protected areas of Mediterranean importance.

Article 17

1. The Parties invite other States, exercising activities within the area defined in Article 3, to take protection measures similar to those foreseen by the present Agreement, taking into account the Action Plan adopted within the UNEP/MAP framework for the conservation of cetaceans in the Mediterranean and the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area, or any other pertinent treaty.

2. The present Agreement is communicated to all international organizations competent at the international or regional level, as well as to the Parties to the Convention for the protection of the marine environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean.

Article 18

The present Agreement is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by the signatory parties.

Article 19

1. The instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval will be deposited with the Government designed as depositary of the present Agreement.

2. The present Agreement will enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval of the signatory Parties.

Article 20

1. The Parties may invite any other interested State or international organization to accede to the present Agreement. Accession will be open after the entry into force of the Agreement.

2. The present Agreement will enter into force, with regard to the acceding Parties, on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the instrument of accession, acceptance or approval.

Article 21

1. Any Party may ask for the convening of a conference for the revision of the Agreement. All revisions will require the agreement of the signatory Parties.

2. Any Party may denounce the Agreement. The denunciation will take effect three months after its notification to the depositary. The denunciation by an acceding Party will not cause the termination of the Agreement for the other Parties.

Article 22

1. The present Agreement, written in the French and Italian languages, each version being equally authentic, is deposited with the archives of the Government of the Principality of Monaco.

2. The present agreement will be registered by the depositary in conformity to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Signed in Rome, on the 25th of November 1999.

For the Principality of Monaco

For the French Republic

For the Italian Republic


The representatives of the three signatory Parties express their satisfaction for the welcome finalization of a document on which they have worked for more than six years. Being it understood that, as with all human work, this agreement is perfectible, it represents the first crucial step towards a real and effective protection of mammals in the western Mediterranean.

Without waiting for the ratification procedures, the signatory Parties will as from today endeavour to facilitate the application of the Agreement by establishing the bases for the management of the sanctuary.

The signatory Parties may rely on the work already accomplished by themselves at the state and the territorial entities level. In particular, the experience gained within the RAMOGE agreement will positively contribute to the establishment and management of the sanctuary.

The Parties hope that, besides the rapid fulfilment of the undertakings embodied in the Agreement by the competent authorities of the State and territorial entities, studies on a certain number of points that may complete the substance of the Agreement be conducted, applying the precautionary principle. This refers in particular to the consequences on marine mammals of the use of means for seismic and acoustic prospection and detection, as well as the possible exploitation of non-living natural resources. Lastly, the question of noise and speed of vessels, already addressed in the Agreement with regard to high-speed motorboat races, will need to be also examined.