November 13, 2016
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Greg Kaufman and Cristina Castro to be featured presenters at
International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas  

Pacific Whale Foundation head researchers will be presenting at the 4th annual International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA), November 13 – 17, 2016 in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. The conference will focus on partnerships and planning strategies for managing and monitoring marine mammals in protected areas.

Natural protected areas have provided a crucial space for the conservation of diverse marine wildlife. However, human population growth and development continue to have a significant impact on a diversity of species and their natural habitats. The conference aims to foster the exchange of ideas among various institutions, disciplines, industries and regions by bringing together scientists, managers, government agencies and non-governmental organizations to discuss best practices.

Greg Kaufman will be a featured speaker in the Managing Encounters with Marine Mammals workshop. His November 14 presentation is titled Engaging Stakeholders in Credible Data Collection May Ensure a MMPA Virtuous Cycle Doesn't Turn Vicious

As a pioneer in the whalewatching and marine ecotourism industry, Kaufman will discuss innovative scientific approaches to studying the impact of whalewatching on whale populations, behavior and health. The workshop will review how protected areas can be used effectively to enhance scientific research and promote sustainable whale and dolphin watching activities and policies. Among the topics to be discussed is whether there are places where whale and dolphin watching should not occur, based on current and emerging science.
Kaufman will speak to research and conservation efforts internationally to mitigate the impacts of whalewatching. He will also address the role that Marine Mammal Protected Areas can play in support of these efforts, including the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) proposed Modelling and Assessment of Whale-watching Impacts (MAWI) initiative.

"The goal of the initiative is to build a strong scientific platform from which to assess the potential effects of whalewatching, as well as promote the protection of marine mammals and conservation of their environments," said Kaufman. "In uniting these objectives, we aim to make marine science matter by specifically linking cutting edge research to its practical application."

Other participants in this workshop include Rob Williams and Erin Ashe, Oceans Initiative; Melissa Landry, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; Lars Bejder, Murdoch University, Australia; and Everardo Mariano, Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas, Mexico.
Kaufman is a co-author of the IWC’s recommended General Principles for Whale Watching and contributing author to the IWC’s 5 Year Strategic Plan for Whale Watching 2011 – 2016. He serves as the international whalewatch representative to the IWC’s Conservation Committee and an invited participant to the IWC’s Scientific Committee. In Hawaii, Kaufman is the whalewatch representative on the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s Advisory Council. Kaufman also provides training in sustainable ecotourism to operators, organizations and agencies worldwide.
Also representing Pacific Whale Foundation at the ICMMPA will be Cristina Castro, director of PWF’s research programs in Ecuador. She will be featured on the panel: New Challenges for Species Conservation and Management for Rebounding Populations. Panelists will present case studies examining how marine mammals and protected areas can be used effectively to develop and nurture a broader understanding and commitment to environmental conservation. Castro's presentation is on Changes in Perspectives on Marine Stewardship and the Community in Puerto López and Machalilla Park, Ecuador

"Whalewatching has done a great deal to transform coastal communities in Ecuador," said Castro. "I look forward to sharing our experiences and the evolving perspectives on marine stewardship in the community."

Other panelists joining Castro include Spyros Kotomatas, World Wildlife Fund, Greece; Naomi McIntosh, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; Everardo Mariano, Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve/San Ignacio y Ojo de Liebre Lagoons, Mexico; and Ernesto Israel Popoca, National Park Bahía de Loreto, Mexico.

Cristina Castro received her B.A. degree in Biology and Chemistry and a doctorate in Biology from the Central University of Ecuador. Her research studies have focused on the breeding grounds of humpback whales in the Machalilla National Park and Puerto López, Ecuador. Castro has also directed various marine mammal programs, and written books on environmental education for indigenous children living in the Ecuadorian jungle and coastal areas.

Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 to save whales from extinction and protect the world's oceans through science and advocacy. As an international organization with ongoing research studies in Hawaii, Ecuador, Chile and Australia, Pacific Whale Foundation is also an active participant in global efforts to address threats to whales and other marine life. For more information on Pacific Whale Foundation, Greg Kaufman or Cristina Castro, please visit For further details on the ICMMPA Workshops and Panels, please visit
Media Contact:
Alison Stewart
Communications Manager
(808) 283-9822

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