SS2 - MPAs as tools for addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation

29 November - 16:30 / 18:00 in room Libye

Organisers: MedPAN

Moderators: Giuseppe Di Carlo (WWF Mediterranean) & Daniel Cebrian (RAC/SPA)

Session overview:

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can play an important role as ‘sentinel sites’ where the effects of climate change can be studied and management strategies can be developed to adapt to such negative effects. Individuals MPAs and MPA networks therefore have an important role to play in enhancing our understanding and helping to develop strategies in face of the climate change.
Considering that ecosystem resilience is one of the main factors that we need to maintain to face climate change, it’s important to underline that MPAs have more healthy ecosystems and more viable populations of many species than non-protected sites. These elements can be crucial for the regeneration of surrounding areas where the impacts of climate change have been more important.
MPAs do offer legitimate ways to store carbon and to offset some of the impacts of a changing climate.   MPAs help reduce and avoid carbon emissions from blue carbon ecosystems.  And when the MPAs involve active ecosystem restoration - such as of mangroves, saltmarshes, and seagrasses - they also help increase carbon sequestration.
The session aims at updating the Mediterranean MPA Roadmap with new targets and actions to be implemented at all levels to better integrate climate change in MPA management and planning. Recommendations from COP22 will be taken into account.


Political framework
Speaker:  Mohammed Ribi (HCEFLCD)
Feedback from COP22 and MEDCOP22: main conclusions/recommandations; highlighting mobilisation of Mediterranean stakeholders on nature-based solutions
Speaker: Abdelmalek FARAJ ,  INRH(Morocco)
Feedback on Ocean Day during COP22 and information on the Initiative for Blue Growth


Scientific background and previsions for the Mediterranean
Speaker:  Gérard Pergent, University of Corte, France
The increase in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases alters the functioning of marine ecosystems through the increase of water temperatures, sea level rise, decrease in pH (acidification) and more frequent extreme events. Strategies to reduce these impacts focus on two complementary approaches: (i) the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and (ii) the conservation and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs able to sequester these greenhouse gases
The Mediterranean basin is one of the areas of the biosphere most exposed to climate change; a global warming of more than 1.5° C would suffer changes never seen since the last 10 000 years with, in particular, aridification of the South and the East of the basin.
The consequences for marine ecosystems would be major, in terms of biological diversity (species, habitats), functioning of ecosystems and living resources. However, Mediterranean coastal ecosystems possess priceless carbon sinks that contribute to the mitigation of the impact of climate change and whose conservation is a priority.

PANEL DISCUSSION 1: MPAs as sentinels

case study:

T-MEDNet: a collaborative pan Mediterranean network to track and assess climate change effects in Marine Protected Areas
Speaker: Joaquim GARRABOU, Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC), Barcelona, SPAIN, Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO), Marseille, France
T-MEDNet network is implementing long-term and high frequency climatic series in surface coastal waters across extensive temporal and spatial scales for the very first time in the Mediterranean. T-MEDNet is a successful collaboration story joining MPA managers and marine scientists. This initiative has been crucial to build robust baselines on seasonal stratification dynamics and increase our detection, understanding and forecasting abilities on the effects of climate change on marine and coastal biodiversity. These results are key to develop realistic vulnerability and risk assessments under present and future climate to implement conservation and adaptive management plans at local and regional scales..

case study:

Indicators of climate change impact in three Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance
Speaker:  Daniel Cebrian, RAC/SPA
One of the Mediterranean priorities for marine biodiversity conservation is the implementation of a monitoring network of climate change impacts in MPAs, including SPAMIs, through indicators specific to the Mediterranean region.
Thirteen indicators of climate change impacts have been identified by UNEP/MAP-RAC/SPA for putting into practice in MPAs; five of them are of top priority and its monitoring implementation has been advised to MPA managers and countries. Hence, UNEP/MAP-RAC/SPA, conducted a baseline work through a group of scientists expert in field monitoring of climate change to assess those indicators taking as pilot three SPAMIs.
The result was the production of the document entitled “Indicators of Climate Change Impact in Three Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance”, which reports on how top priority indicators have been studied and monitored in three SPAMIs. Based on the experience of these three sites, and on the knowledge of the authors, a detailed framework and diverse cost-effective methodologies are proposed to support the implementation and establishment of the monitoring of feasible climate change indicators in SPAMIs and other MPAs in the Mediterranean and other marine ecoregions.

PANEL DISCUSSION 2: MPA managers as “guardians” of the capacity of most of the marine ecosystems to be resilient and effectively adapt to climate change and as “schools” to increase awareness about climate change impacts and vulnerability of marine biodiversity

case study:

ClimVar Project
Speaker:  Antoine Lafitte, Plan Bleu
As a partner, Plan Bleu participated, from 2012 to 2015, in the ClimVar project. The objective of this project was to show how the ICZM approach is an effective tool to integrate the impacts of climate change into national coastal planning strategies.
Plan Bleu has therefore developed various products such as a data sharing platform, a set of indicators, methodological reports and a participatory method to co-develop adaptation measures at the local level. The presentation will focus on the activity implemnted in Kerkennah archipelago : «Presentation of ClimVar Project and the activity related to the Kerkennah archipelago: updating of the coastal areas’ management plan with focus to the contribution of ecosystems to reduce the variability and climate change impacts.»

case study:

Valorizing Invasive Species as a Tool for Sustainable Fishing Management and Climate Change Adaptation in Gökova Bay Marine Protected Area, Turkey
Speaker:  Zafer Kizilkaya, Mediterranean Conservation Society
Gökova Bay Marine Protected Area located in the Eastern Mediterranean has been one of the first Marine Protected Areas where Indian Ocean and Red Sea origin invasive species’ appearance and impacts observed as well as increasing water temperatures. Successful management efforts of Mediterranean Conservation Society by designing community marine guard since 2012 and No Fishing Zones patrolling scheme to improve effectiveness of No Fishing Zones together with the cooperation of Coastguard and other relevant stakeholders have resulted almost five folds increase in fisheries revenues of local community and seven folds increase in fish biomass within the protected areas. Promoting the consumption of the invasive commercial species and their steady supply has a positive impact on Marine Protected Area’s action plan in a way that changed the fishing habits of local people. As the strict enforcement had led to substantial increase in fish biomass within No Fishing Zones and spill-over nearby fishing grounds, Randall’s sea bream, Nemipterus randalli, has become one of the backbone of the fishing community financially. In addition, the socio-economic data clearly verify the white grouper, Ephinephelus aeneus, has been steadily increased after almost 10 years of collapse and started generating an important income for the community before the nationwide prohibition was declared on the species in September 2016.
Success of Gökova Bay Marine Protected Area management activated the responsible government authorities and upon the request of Mediterranean Conservation Society the No Fishing Zones were extended another %25 reaching altogether 3000 ha now covering very important coralline and sea grass habitats. Moreover, the trawling and the pur-seining prohibited area were extended to 267,600 ha securing most of the important habitat from those type of fishing pressure and enabling safe zone for small scale fishing communities. The enforcement within the Marine Protected Area is still the most important and challenging management activity Mediterranean Conservation Society faces with continuously increasing fish stocks..

PANEL DISCUSSION 3: MPAs and Blue Carbon

case study:

Posidonia oceanica mapping in Corsica
Speaker:  Gérard Pergent, University of Corsica, France
The mapping of the Posidonia oceanica meadows, but also of the other biocenoses, was carried out around Corsica island (> 1 000 km of coastline) using aerial photography for the shallow waters (between the surface and  15 m depth) and of acoustic sensors (side scan sonar and multibeam echosounder) deeper. All the data were validated in situ and integrated, after remote sensing, in a Geographical Information System (GIS).
The area covers by Posidonia oceanica meadows is estimated at 53 460 ha, ie more than 50% of the depths between 0 and -50 m. The precision of these maps also makes it possible to identify and quantify anthropogenic impacts (trawling, anchoring). Finally, the use of a sediment echosounder allowed to measure the thikness of the matte and to estimate that the quantities of carbon sequestered at the NATURA 2000 site ‘Grand Herbier de la Plaine Orientale’ could reach nearly 50 million tons.

case study:

LIFE Blue Natura and MPA-Adapt projects
Speaker:  Maria del Mar Otero, IUCN Med
Life Blue Natura project will be presented, it’s the first European Blue Carbon project to quantify the carbon deposits and the sequestration rates on these habitats to define and make an approximate evaluation of the environmental services created by these habitats to mitigate climate change.
The new Interreg project MPA-Adapt will also be presented. The goals of the  project are to develop collaborative and site-specific adaptation plans for the MPAs that enhance resilience to climate change impacts. This will be achieved by building capacity for effective management, assessing risks; and exploring potential actions and priorities needed to ensure the adaptability and the resilience of biodiversity and the local communities. It also aims to incorporate vulnerability assessments and nature-based adaptation planning into their existing management framework, and provide guidance to managers and local stakeholders to implement and test climate-change approaches, creating the first line of Mediterranean MPA sentinel sites.