Marine Protected Areas are slices of sea and coast placed under protection and managed because of their ecological importance. Through effective management, they protect the amazing marine life of the Mediterranean, ensuring the livelihoods of fishermen, stimulate the local economy and offer tourists the opportunity to rekindle their links with nature.
Together with other complementary tools (pollution control, resource management through access, equipment or authorized periods regulation for example), Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are recognized as the most effective management and conservation tool able to manage the unprecedented alteration to marine ecosystems and mitigate its effects. They are today also being increasingly recognised as a fisheries management tool.
Thanks to a control of human activities that defines usage rules for visitors and extraction (fishing for instance), Marine Protected Areas present demonstrated and proven benefits:
In terms of Mediterranean biodiversity preservation:
- They are a refuge for endangered species,
- They prevent the deterioration of habitats
- They allow the development of natural biological communities.
- They help revitalize fish stocks or restore degraded environments.
- They allow to “export” eggs and larvae, adults or juveniles can re-colonize adjacent areas (this is the “spill-over effect”)
- They are more resilient so they are more able to withstand stress.
In terms of local economies development:
- They ensure the future of artisanal fisheries, the Mediterranean identity crucible
- They favor the development of economic activities for the benefit of local populations