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The “Network of Marine Mammal Observers" (NeMMO) is a research initiative aimed at enhancing the collection of marine mammal data during opportunistic vessel-based work in the oceanic waters of the western Indian Ocean. 

The goal of NeMMO is to significantly increase the quality, quantity and availability of useful data on cetacean populations in the oceanic waters of the south-western Indian Ocean through a network of MMO’s working onboard platforms of opportunity. ‘Platforms of opportunity’ are defined here as oceangoing vessels that are engaged in other work but which offer opportunities for dedicated observers to collect data, in this instance on marine mammals and other megafauna (see Williams, 2003 ), Marine megafauna data for large parts of this region is largely absent or extremely sparse, and in the absence of dedicated resources will likely remain so without creative efforts to collect new information. The network will achieve this goal through the following specific objectives:

1. Platform Diversification: NeMMO seeks to leverage platforms of opportunity to collect systematic data on cetaceans. These platforms include commercial vessels, research vessels, and other vessels transiting in offshore waters and Areas beyond National Jurisdictions (ABNJ). By utilizing existing platforms, the program aims to maximize the geographic coverage and frequency of recorded observations, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the distribution of cetaceans and other marine megafauna.

2. Data Collection Enhancement: NeMMO aims to develop of network of experienced MMOs that can embark aboard the identified platforms. Visual surveys consist of 2-3 MMO continuously searching the surface and recording their effort, any cetacean sightings and any other megafauna. Data recorded will include GPS location, species identification, group sizes and behaviors. Data collection protocols will be established to ensure standardized procedures for recording sightings and data entry, to ensure consistency and comparability across surveys. These data will also contribute to the improvement of any dedicated research surveys in future. 

3. Collaboration and centralizing resources: The project will foster collaboration among researchers, institutions, and stakeholders in the region. The project will also centralize existing data on cetacean distribution into a regional database, to ensure data are standardized, referenced and safely stored in order to be readily available for research and conservation initiatives. 

4. Capacity Building: NeMMO will provide training to local researchers and observers, enhancing their skills in cetacean identification and data collection. It is hoped that this capacity-building and consolidation of the IndoCet partnership will contribute both to the long-term sustainability of the NeMMO program, but also more productive collaborations across the region. 

5. Data Analysis and Dissemination: The data collected by NeMMO is intended to be used to assess distribution patterns, species habitats, and any interactions with human activities. In the longer term these can help to identify trends in cetacean populations and inform the management of threats in the region

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the project description document.