Shetland awarded IMMA status 

Shetland has officially been recognised as an important marine mammal area (IMMA).

The isles now join the likes of Antarctica, Madagascar, Baja California and Patagonia who all have IMMA status. 

Shetland is considered an important area for marine species such as orca, harbour porpoise, humpback whale and minke whale.

Karen Hall, marine mammal advisor for NatureScot was amongst those to submit a case for Shetland to receive IMMA status.

“There was a call for proposals in 2023 and we went ‘hang on a minute, we should maybe be in there and promote how special Shetland is,” she said. 

“So I’m absolutely delighted that it’s been recognised, it’s put Shetland on the map and it highlights that we are an important area.”

Shetland Wildlife’s Hugh Harrop was also among those to submit the case for IMMA status, he stressed that the isles level of biodiversity is up there with the other world greats. 

“Just because we’re an island in the middle of the North Sea, doesn’t make us less biodiverse than say Baja California or parts of Australasia, the Southern Ocean or the Great Barrier Reef, far from it.

“We are an incredibly marine biodiverse rich region.

“We can apply for IMMA status and it’s been awarded and what’s great about this is there’s been a cross-section of society that has pulled together in order to make this happen.”

Mr Harrop stressed that  everyone who has reported sightings and information on social media or through word of mouth has helped contribute to Shetland gaining IMMA status. 

Read the full story in this week’s Shetland Times


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