The Mediterranean needs more marine reserves – they are an antidote to the crisis, says WWF

Posted on
26 November 2012

For the first time in the Mediterranean, 300 key players involved in marine environment conservation will meet to discuss and develop a joint work program to improve the protection of the Mediterranean Sea.

The 2012 Forum of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean, 25-28 November 2012 in Antalya, Turkey, is a joint initiative of the Network of Marine Protected Areas Managers in the Mediterranean (MedPAN) and its partners, one of which is WWF. The aim is to develop a concrete plan to be able to achieve the goal under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 10% of the surface of the Mediterranean through an effective network of Marine Protected Areas, by 2020.

Since 2008, approximately 7,000 km2 has been added to the area already under protection. But with only a little over 4% of the Mediterranean Sea under protection, there is still much to be done to ensure that Mediterranean marine biodiversity "hot-spots" are protected.

“To achieve a 10% protection target by 2020, WWF urges governments to create and support more Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. Marine reserves protect marine life, ensure the livelihoods of fishermen, stimulate the local economy and rekindle tourists’ interest in nature. They are a key tool to achieve a sustainable use of marine resources, to protect biodiversity and to secure people’s livelihoods for today and tomorrow”, said Giuseppe Di Carlo, Head of Marine Unit at WWF Mediterranean.

Public support is instrumental in boosting the designation of marine reserves and their effective management. In Australia, the decision to create the world’s largest network of marine reserves, announced at the Rio+20 conference, has received overwhelming public support with 80,000 submissions received by the government.

Following this success, WWF launched an online petition asking Mediterranean government leaders to increase protection of the Mediterranean through a greater commitment to MPAs towards the achievement of the 10% protection target. The petition has obtained more than 22,000 signatures over the last 4 months only and will be presented at the Forum of Marine Protected Areas to key decision makers.

WWF believes Marine Protected Areas can be an antidote to the current socio-economic crisis, being an investment in the Mediterranean region’s future. Indeed, the positive effects of Marine Protected Areas are visible and measurable – within MPAs animals’ size increases by 13%, species diversity by 19%, fish biomass up to 4.7 times, fish abundance by 10%.

The Mediterranean is one of the richest regions in the world in terms of marine biodiversity and natural resources, but also one of the most vulnerable.

To arrange telephone interviews and for more information:
Anne Rémy, WWF Mediterranean,, + 39 06 844 97 424
Cristina Maceroni, WWF Mediterranean,, +39 329 83 15 725

More on WWF’s work on MPAs and across the Mediterranean region: