Ambassador Stories: The Marine Mammals Management Toolkit

Marine Mammals Management Toolkit
Screenshot from toolkit
Marine Mammals Management Toolkit

Ambassador Stories is an ongoing series of articles dedicated to highlighting the work of the 2023 PANORAMA Ambassador Cohort. This article highlights the work of PANORAMA Ambassador, Francis Staub. To learn more about the 2023 Ambassador Cohort, click here.


Marine mammals play a crucial role in marine ecosystem function, providing valuable ecosystem services. However, with climate change predicted to aggravate the detrimental effects of shipping, bycatch, and pollution, amongst many other threats, on marine mammal populations, the need for the development and implementation of effective management plans for the conservation of these species is at its highest. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been essential in conserving and managing marine mammal populations, however their success is often hindered by lack of resources, capacity and/or knowledge.


The Marine Mammal Twining, part of the EU-funded Ocean Governance, has designed and created a toolkit for the inclusion of marine mammals into MPAs. The aim of the Toolkit is to help build the technical capacities of MPA managers by sharing knowledge, expertise, and good practices. This toolkit will serve as the building blocks for upcoming PANORAMA solutions for the PANORAMA Blue community. Synergising with the PANORAMA Blue community's goal to become a global forum for accessing and sharing good practice  in marine and coastal conservation and sustainable use, the Mammals Management Toolkit can add to the building blocks of solutions all over the world.


To guide effective management of marine mammals, and support MPA managers, the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit contains four key components:



In April 2023 the twinning launched its 4th core component, the Community of Practice. This builds up, and supports, the other three components: the factsheets that provide critical resources and information to MPA practitioners, good practices, and the self-assessment tool which enables MPA managers to understand and adapt the level of protection given to marine mammals. Our Factsheets are designed to support those involved in the integration of marine mammals to their MPA management plans. The Factsheets cover 5 main themes: Management Frameworks, Addressing the Activities and Threats, Research and Monitoring, Outreach and Engagement and Management Effectiveness.



Each Factsheet contains an introduction to the issue, provides information and guidance on how to manage the problem, including conservation guidelines, as well as additional resources and relevant news articles. Our Community of Practice brings together MPA practitioners from around the world with the common goal of ensuring that marine mammals are effectively managed within management plans. The Community of Practice is open to all, from local and small MPAs, to managers of large international transboundary MPAs, as well as those in the planning and pre-establishment phase. By joining, members can identify and network with fellow MPA and marine mammal experts, share good practices, lessons learnt and exchange knowledge whilst sharing technical resources and obtaining support and guidance from mentors, ultimately supporting the effective management and conservation of marine mammals, mitigating threats, and protecting biodiversity.


In 2022, a need was recognised to develop a reduced version of the already established Self-Assessment Tool, which is how the SAT-LITE was developed. The SAT-LITE bridges the gap between continuous monitoring and needing to quickly understand the strengths and weaknesses of an MPA’s management plan. The SAT-LITE is available as an Excel document, and downloadable in English.


To learn more about the Marine Mammal Twinning or to access the Marine Mammal Management Toolkit and SAT-LITE version, please visit, or email



About the author

Francis Staub is a member of the 2023 PANORAMA Ambassador cohort. He is currently one of the core team members of the EU Ocean Governance project. He started his career working for the French Ministry of Environment, then the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. at the Environment Department before becoming a consultant. He has been working for more than 20 years in providing services related to the conservation and sustainable use of natural – terrestrial, coastal and marine – resources including international cooperation projects development, implementation and evaluation worldwide. Further experience includes policy analysis and recommendations, project development and evaluation, capacity building and communication, education and public awareness (he was the international coordinator of the International Year of the Reef in 2008). He is the founder and managing director of Blue Pangolin Consulting. For the last 20  years, Francis has been involved in the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). He acted as strategic advisor to most of the governments who have chaired ICRI (USA, France, Australia, Japan among others). He is currently ICRI’s coordinator on behalf of the government of the United States of America. He is also a member of the Steering committee of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) and a strategic advisor to the French Coral Reef Initiative.