Endangered humpback whales which transit
the Caribbean Sea have a better chance of living longer, thanks to
an agreement signed between the Dominican Republic Ministry of the
Environment and Natural Resources and the U.S. National Marine
established the world's first program linking sanctuaries in an
effort to protect endangered migratory marine mammal species on
both ends of the migratory track. The two sanctuaries, located in
the D.R. and the U.S., are 1,500 miles apart and provide critical
support for humpback whales, which number approximately
The whales are
known to spend spring and summer at Stellwagen Bank Marine
Sanctuary off the coast of Massachusetts before heading to the
warmer waters of the Sanctuario de Mamiferos Maria de la Republic
Dominicana in late fall to mate and deliver their young.
agreed to step up coordination and management efforts with one
another to help improve humpback whale recovery in the North
sanctuary agreement already is in effect and establishes
cooperation guidelines for the next five years, which include joint
research, monitoring and education.
"Both the U.S.
and the Dominican Republic are parties to SPAW (Specially Protected
Areas and Wildlife)," said Alessan Vanzella-Khouri, program
officer. "This initiative manifests the true spirit of regional
cooperation to ensure the conservation of whales and other
endangered migratory species."
"Our mandate is
to engender new discussions in our society about the importance of
marine mammals, the oceans in which they live and our
responsibility as ocean stewards," said Maximiliano Puige, minister
of environment and natural resources for the Dominican
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].