Single Species Action Plan for the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin up for adoption by the Convention on Migratory Species

Single Species Action Plan for the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin up for adoption by the Convention on Migratory Species

Atlantic humpback dolphins (Sousa teuszii) in the Delta Saloum, Senegal


The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) will hold its 14th Conference of Parties (COP)  in Uzbekistan from 12-17 February, 2024. Document UNEP/CMS/COP14/Doc.27.5.2/Rev.2 presents a new Single Species Action Plan (SSAP) for the Critically Endangered Atlantic humpback dolphin, along with a draft Resolution and draft Decisions for adoption.  Adoption of the SSAP can help halt this species’ further decline toward extinction.

A range-wide  Action Plan

The Atlantic humpback dolphin (AHD) is one of the most endangered dolphin species on the planet.  It’s reliance on shallow waters close to shore puts the species at risk of fisheries bycatch, hunting, and habitat loss. The CMS has played a leading role in providing a framework for the research and conservation of this species for over 30 years.  The Draft SSAP represents a culmination of years of research and recommendations.  It was drafted by international and range-state scientists, and underwent several rounds of review through a CMS-convened Steering Committee, an open invitation to range-state CMS focal points, and an in-person workshop for range-state focal points in September 2023.

The SSAP examines the known threats to the species, ranks their severity, and details a series of recommended actions that are needed to address each one.  Actions include:

  • Field-based research to address knowledge gaps hindering effective conservation.
  • Creation of citizen science reporting networks and empowerment of coastal communities as conservation partners.
  • Awareness-raising and capacity building for all relevant stakeholders.
  • Creation of tools and resources for government and industry stakeholders.
  • Improved enforcement of regulatory mechanisms and creation of protected areas.

Resolutions and Decisions

The Conference of Parties is recommended to adopt the SSAP for AHD with the goal of ‘promoting the long-term sustainability of populations and their habitats by reducing the negative effects of human activities through research, awareness-raising, capacity-building, and conservation action’. The COP is also recommended to adopt the following resolutions and decisions.

  • CMS Parties and non-Party Range States are encouraged to implement the SSAP in the next 3 years through active collaboration between a range of government and non-governmental stakeholders, cooperation between range states and with other relevant intergovernmental frameworks.
  • Non-Range-State Parties are requested to provide technical and capacity-building support.
  • IGOs and NGOs are encouraged to provide technical support and expertise.
  • The Consortium for the Conservation of the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin (CCAHD) is invited to continue its active support for research and conservation of the species.
  • The CMS Secretariat is instructed to monitor implementation of the SSAP, through collaboration with the Scientific Council’s Aquatic Mammals Working Group, and, subject to available resources, convene a meeting of Range States to discuss implementation and priorities.

Click here to download a 1-page fact sheet that can be used to support outeach to decision makers involved in the CMS COP and/or regional conservation measures for Atlantic humpback dolphins.