This report firstly describes the ecological characteristics of seamounts of the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) and of the Walters Shoal. It then reviews the governance framework for the region, assessing the mandates of regional conventions, regional fisheries bodies and relevant sectoral organisations. Finally, it presents some potential options for the conservation and management of the Walters Shoal .
- Biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction
Marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) make up approximately half of the planet’s surface and host a significant portion of its biodiversity. Seamounts located in these areas generally host large numbers of endemic species, are often hotspots of marine biodiversity, and may act as waypoints for migratory species.
- The Walters Shoal seamount in the South West Indian Ocean
Located at the southern end of the Madagascar Ridge, the Walters Shoal is a shallow water area. It consists of a group of seamounts and domes, the highest summit of which sits just 18 meters below the surface. In the framework of a project funded by the FFEM, the Walters Shoal was the subject of a 26-day multidisciplinary expedition on board the R/V Marion Dufresne (April-May 2017).
- Options to better conserve and manage the Walters Shoal
This report describes the ecological characteristics of the Walters Shoal and, following a review of the governance framework for the management of the regional marine environment, highlights some possible options for a better conservation and management of this seamount.