MedPAN is part of the large Mediterranean programme of the MAVA foundation. This programme focuses, among other subjects, on high trophic level fish and priority species. In particular, the foundation is seeking to make fishing more sustainable by limiting impacts on priority species and habitats, and reducing fishing pressure on high trophic level fish species as well as to improve the status of priority species by reducing human-induced mortality.
Several focused action plans have been defined by MAVA to implement the Mediterranean programme in cooperation with partners on the ground and thought leaders on sustainable economy and conservation science. MedPAN is involved in 3 action plans:
- M4-Reconciling fishing and biodiversity
- M5-Preserving living marine resources.
- M7-Protecting sea turtles nesting sites
M4 and M5 – Small Scale Fisheries
Mediterranean habitats and species are threatened by over fishing. Indeed, Seagrass beds, for example, are destroyed by repeat trawling, and vulnerable species as sea turtles and cetaceans suffer from bycatch. In the meantime, overexploitation of predators at the top of the food chain can destabilise the entire marine ecosystem and directly impact the resources on which local communities depend.
Preserving diverse and productive coastal areas on which communities depend remains a critical challenge. For its last strategy cycle 2016-2022, the MAVA Foundation aims to protect critical habitats and healthy ecosystems for the benefit of fishers and biodiversity by:
- improving knowledge on biodiversity and fisheries activities;
- raising awareness of fishers and other stakeholder groups
- increasing the capacity of government, civil society and fishers to implement sustainable fishing practices
- demonstrating and implementing sustainable fishing practices
- supporting alternative livelihoods to reduce unsustainable fishing practices
The MedPAN network cooperates with ACCOBAMS, Birdlife, GFCM, Global Footprint Network, IUCN, Medasset, SPA/RAC and WWF on this project.
A sample of MedPAN’s activities:
- Facilitate working groups gathering fishers and MPAs on a regional and sub-regional levels
- Organise small exchange visits in 2017 (Taza, early 2018), 2018 (Torre Guaceto) and 2019 in MPAs involving Mediterranean fishers and MPA managers
- Organise a regional training in 2018 (Telascica, Croatia, in October 2018) in collaboration with the FishMPABlue 2 project
- Organise the 2018 regional experience exchange workshop (Palma de Mallorca, Spain in November 2018) in collaboration with the FishMPABlue 2 project
- Set up an exchange mechanism between fishers and MPAs in collaboration with the FishMPABlue 2 project
- Gather data on habitat mapping in key locations, traditional ecological knowledge and socio-economic features, ecological characteristics for MPAs who don’t have such baseline data
- Produce a Small Scale Fisheries monitoring protocol guide (in 2018)
- Produce communication tools/documents for MPA managers, fishers, and decision makers
- Support Small Projects focusing on Small Scale Fisheries and MPAs (Torre Guaceto, Montenegro)
- Support the permanent training mechanism for MPAs
M7 – Conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean region
The MedPAN network is involved in the conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean. Under the umbrella of a vast project funded by the MAVA foundation and entitled “Conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean Region“, several partners are teaming up to reduce or eliminate human induced direct mortality of marine turtles in the Mediterranean. Activities fall within five strategies focusing on: research and monitoring, reinforced coordination, capacity building, improved management/protection of nesting sites and adaptive management in nesting, wintering and feeding sites, as well reduction of illegal trade.
A sample of MedPAN’s activities:
- Integrate collected data on foraging, feeding and migration in MPAs into the MAPAMED database (2019)
- Produce a guide on harmonised monitoring protocol for marine turtles (2018)*
- Organise marine turtles exchange visits for MPA managers (2017 – Zakynthos Marine national Park)
- Organise an annual workshop where MPA managers can share their experiences on marine turtle management (2019)
- Develop training modules on marine turtles management issues (2019)
- Coordinate a marine turtle working group ( 2018-2019)
- Disseminate knowledge and lessons-learnt (2018-2019)
- Advocate in national, regional and international events (2017, 2018, 2019)
- Support small projects focusing on marine turtles (2018 – 2019) – see small projects in Italy and Lebanon
* This guide also benefits from support from the UNEP/MAP project “MedMPA network” financed by the European Union