Blue Economy and Marine Conservation: safeguarding Mediterranean MPAs in order to achieve Good Environmental Status

Tursiops truncatus, straits gibraltar
© Sylvain Cordier
Thinking beyond MPA borders 
The current trend of “blue growth” in the Mediterranean Sea is accelerating at a pace of near unsustainability, while marine protected areas (MPAs), specifically established to protect marine ecosystems, processes, habitats and species cover only 7.14% of the Mediterranean basin. The objective set by the Convention on Biological Diversity is 10% by 2020.
Despite the status of MPAs to safeguard the environment, many economic sectors function within or near these protected areas. The current EU Blue Growth strategy means that MPAs face more and more overlaps and increased requests for economic development within or near their limits, with greater pressure and impact on the marine environment. At the same time, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive requires Good Environmental Status being reached for European Seas by 2020.
The PHAROS4MPAs project explores how Mediterranean MPAs are affected by activities in the growing Blue Economy, and provides a set of practical recommendations for regional stakeholders on how the environmental impacts of key sectors can be prevented or minimized. Encouraging international collaboration across MPA networks and cooperation between state, industry and other actors, PHAROS4MPAs aims to enhance MPA management effectiveness and improve the conservation of marine ecosystems across the whole of the Mediterranean.
PHAROS4MPAs focuses on the following sectors of the Blue Economy:
  • Maritime transport and industrial ports
  • Cruise
  • Tour boats
  • Leisure boating
  • Offshore wind farms
  • Aquaculture
  • Recreational fisheries
  • Scuba diving
  • Small-scale fisheries

The approach of this project is it to put all parties on an equal footing, from MPA managers, to MSP authorities and business sectors representatives, and create the conditions for a sustainable blue economy and a healthy marine environment in and around MPAs.

Outcomes include delivering common capitalization baselines, recommendations and policy tools appropriate for use by the MedPAN network, MSP authorities, the European Commission, the Barcelona Convention and the various maritime sectors.

Read more.
PHAROS4MPAs partnership