Empowering the legacy: scaling up co-managed and financially sustainable No-Take Zones / Marine Protected Areas


The marine resources of the Mediterranean have been exploited for thousands of years and as such today the Mediterranean is in “burn out”. Over the past 50 years, populations of Mediterranean marine mammals have fallen by 41% and around 80% of fish stocks are overfished. More than half (53%) of its sharks are at risk of extinction and the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica, one the important nursery habitat for many species, a carbon sink habitat, and a sea acidification buffer, has decreased by 34%.

Recovery of species population and improvement of marine habitats have been recorded, notably in marine protected areas (MPAs) and in no-take zones (NTZs) that are well managed and enforced.

Out of the more than 1,000 existing Mediterranean MPAs very few have shown an increase of fish biomass and biodiversity with benefits for local communities, plus only 0.04% (815 km2) of the basin is covered by NTZs.


Eight direct partners:

Four indirect partners:

Four associated partners:


Start and duration: 30/07/2020 for a duration of 30 months

Total amount: 5,943,266 euros

To make a difference, partners will focus on the creation of new NTZs and deliver a set of solutions to improve the management and governance of existing NTZ and MPAs. Each site will showcase specific approaches and tools to address recurrent issues in terms of governance, design, financing, and enforcement and enable inspiration and potential replication.

In each of the project sites, fishers -together with other key stakeholders- will be empowered through participation. As part of the decision-making process, fishers will develop their management solutions that ensure profitable fisheries for the future and ensure the willingness to maintain their engagement beyond the end of the project.

The project is designed to ensure an impact far into the future. The financial sustainability of the local initiatives will be guaranteed by building financial skills at a local level, testing and implementing financing mechanisms, and attracting new investors. Project results will be scaled-up at a regional level by supporting capacity building, disseminating and exchanging lessons learned, promoting networking in order to amplify the impact and increase the potential of replication by inspiring and involving other MPAs and fishers of the Mediterranean countries and beyond.

The project ambition

Sites where activities will be implemented

Project funders

Main funder: MAVA Foundation


  • WWF Network
  • WWF SSF project 
  • Nestle Cereal Department in Turkey
  • Agence française de développement (AFD) 
  • EU projects (Odyssea, Fishforward, MPA Networks /Interreg MED)
  • EU-funded IMAP-MPA project (Towards achieving the Good Environmental Status of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast through an Ecologically Representative and Efficiently Managed and Monitored Network of Marine Protected Areas)
  • FFEM-funded project (COGITO)
  • Fondation Albert II de Monaco
  • The MedFund
  • CEPF Kuriat
  • Municipality of Monastir
  • Marilles Foundation (Stewards of the sea)
  • LIFE in-kind contribution
  • HCMR institutional funding
  • EU Data Collection Framework (MEDIAS)
  • University of Athens
  • Office français de la biodiversité
  • MTF: Mediterranean Trust Fund (Trust Fund for the Mediterranean Action Plan)
  • Pelagos Sanctuary
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • Conservatoire du littoral
  • WWF Greece
  • IUCN Med

For more information, please contact:
Marina GOMEI – WWF Mediterranean: mgomei@wwfmedpo.org