Between the 29th of October and the 6th of November, Tethys researcher Joan Gonzalvo visited Syria and Lebanon in the context of the preparation of National Action Plans for the Conservation of Cetaceans. The initiative has been coordinated and funded by ACCOBAMS and the RAC/SPA.
At the beginning of March Joan had already spent one week in Syria to gather the necessary information for the preparation of an Action Plan, which was handed-in last June. The document was co-authored by Giovanni Bearzi, President of Tethys.
In his most recent visit to Syria, Joan presented this Action Plan to Syrian authorities and stakeholders, during an event organized by the Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife and aimed to explore the best ways of implementing the actions included in the Plan.
Then Joan moved to Lebanon to attend a series of meetings with Lebanese authorities and fishermen representatives and to participate in a workshop at the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, organized by the National Centre of Marine Sciences, to gather the information needed for the preparation of the Action Plan for Cetaceans in Lebanon. The workshop was extremely successful.
The development of cetacean research and conservation actions in these two countries of the Middle East offers a unique opportunity to get insight on the situation of whales and dolphins in a region where almost no information on cetaceans is available.
A first version of the Action Plan for the conservation of cetaceans in Lebanon will be submitted at the end of January 2009.
Photo: Joan Gonzalvo interviewing artisanal fishermen in the port of Tyr (Lebanon)