Following the MedPAN Workshop and FishMPABlue2 conference week in Mallorca, Spain, 19 participants (13 MPAs and 6 project partners) flew to Ibiza on 16 November 2018 for a one-day field exchange visit that focused on measures implemented or planned in the framework of the FishMPABlue2 project in Es Freus Marine Reserve.

2018 Exchange visit Es Freus

In the morning, the participants had the opportunity to meet the fishers and representative of the fisheries administration on the port of Ibiza and in the premises of the Cofradias. Fishers explained the change in their community’s mentality towards no-fishing zones. Once suspicious of regulatory measures taken by the fisheries administration, fishermen are now taking the initiative by proposing the designation of a new Marine reserve in the north east of Ibiza in Tagomago.

Participants were also introduced to the PEIX SI certification that was developed locally at the initiative of fishers. This certification mechanism is to bring value on the products of local small scale fisheries and ensures traceability from the boat to the plate. After a period of experimentation, this certification procedure has become the standard in force.

In the opinion of the representative of the fisheries administration, the development of the label would never have been successful if it had not been initiated and carried out by the fishers themselves. He insisted that these unprecedented type of bottom-up approach are the encouraging sign of a profound change in mentalities and also stressed the importance of structuring the local fishing community within Cofradias. Without a cooperative, none of the initiatives undertaken in Ibiza would have been possible.

Participants spent the afternoon in Formentera, where they met the rangers of Es Freus Marine Reserve. The discussion focused mainly on surveillance strategies and on the installation of cameras currently being planned as part of the FishMPABlue2 project to improve the surveillance of the no take zone. MPA managers and the local rangers exchanged on technical and legal constraints related to this project and to the use of other surveillance technologies such as drones. The rangers accompanied the participants for a boat trip to visit the reserve and explain zoning and regulations of fishing activities.

Exchange visits are an integral part of the Capacity Building strategy to enhance the management of MPAs in the Mediterranean, developed by MedPAN and its partners WWF Mediterranean and UNEP-MAP-SPA/RAC.The purpose of these exchange visits is to allow MPA managers and other stakeholders to benefit from lessons learnt from successful experiences to build operational responses tailored to their own needs.