Key threats in the Mediterranean region
Tourism and population pressure
Mass tourism has led to degraded landscapes, soil erosion, increased waste discharges into the sea, loss of natural habitats, higher pressure on endangered species and heightened vulnerability to forest fires. It puts a strain on water resources and often leads to cultural disruption.
Mediterranean coastal areas, which account for 30% of international tourist destinations, are already seriously damaged.
This is 15 times the amount of the Prestige spill off the coast of Spain. 80% of the urban sewage produced is discharged untreated. Added to that are agricultural runoffs containing pesticides, nitrates and phosphates which contaminate the sea.
Around 1.5 million tons of fish are caught in the Mediterranean each year. Destructive and often illegal fishing methods, including bottom trawlers, dynamite, long lines, and drift nets have depleted fish stocks. Use of drift nets are also responsible for the accidental deaths and incidental catches of whales, dolphins and marine turtles.
Depleted fish stocks are also reflected in the undersized catch. 83% of all blue-fin tuna and swordfish caught in the Mediterranean are undersized.