Criteria for an Important Cetacean Area

Important Cetacean Areas are discrete sites that fulfill one or more of the following criteria. For ICA purposes habitual use is defined as used by cetaceans for a minimum of 3 years. A site may qualify if it supports:

1. Endangered, Threatened or Vulnerable Species*

In general, the habitual presence of a 'listed' species, irrespective of population size, may be sufficient for a site to qualify as an ICA. This could be applied to species, subspecies or populations.

* As categorized by: 1) the IUCN Red List, 2) any national designation as Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern (eg. Endangered Species Act - US, Species at Risk Act and COSEWIC - Canada), or 3) studies that indicate a basis for special management.

2. Feeding Concentrations

A site habitually used by 10 or more large cetaceans, or 100 or more small cetaceans or, regardless of number of animals a site habitually used by specific individuals that may be vulnerable due to its proximity to a large population center or industry.

3. Breeding Area or Nursery

A site habitually used by cetaceans for breeding, calving or a nursery.

4. Migration Corridors

A traditional route between feeding and breeding locations, or between separate feeding grounds.

5. Species Diversity

A site with a small or large number of individuals, but that habitually supports a representation of the species diversity of a biogeographic region.

Photo credit: James Pilkington


This is a project of Pacific WildLife Foundation, 2013.

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