What is the status of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean in 2012 ?
The Mediterranean is considered to be one of the world priority ecoregion and is one of the major marine and coastal biodiversity hotspot. Although it represents less than 1% of the global ocean surface, it hosts almost 20% of global marine biodiversity and has a high level of endemism with up to nearly 50% for some groups. It is an important breeding area for several key pelagic species, and some of these are threatened. There is intense urbanisation, tourism, shipping traffic, overfishing, pollution and global changes which weigh heavily on this environment.
RAC/SPA and MedPAN are working alongside their partners (IUCN, WWF, local NGOs, research organisations, ...) to establish an ecological network of MPAs to protect at least 10% of the marine and coastal waters which is representative of the Mediterranean’s diversity and made up of ecologically interconnected and well managed MPAs, in accordance with the latest guidelines from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Barcelona Convention.
The aim of this study is to evaluate in 2012 the progress that has been made, since the first inventory done in 2008, on the Mediterranean system of MPAs in view of the above mentioned objectives: does the network cover 10% of the Mediterranean, is it representative of the Mediterranean’s diversity, are MPAs well-connected and well managed?
An increasing number of studies led in recent years, particularly impelled by the RAC/SPA have identified important gaps in protecting key habitats and species which highlights the urgent need to protect certain critical areas (Greenpeace, 2006; Notarbartolo di Sciara, 2008, 2010, UNEP-MAP/RAC/SPA, 2010d, 2011; UNEP-MAP/RAC/SPA, 2009a; UNEP, 2012; Coll et al., 2010, 2011; Mouillot et al., 2011; CEPF, 2010; de Juan et al., 2010; eana Mednet, 2011; IUCN MedRAS, 2012; de Juan et al., 2012; Fenberg et al., 2012...).
This study has used the last, most recent (MAPAMED, 2011-2012) inventory made on MPAs and a survey questionnaire sent to managers, both conducted jointly by MedPAN and RAC/SPA.