Marine protected areas are widely used tools to conserve marine ecosystems and their services. They are complex socio-ecological systems where human activities and nature interact. Croatia has 409 protected areas, of which 19 are coastal-marine.
This study analysed the management model of MPAs in Croatia and identified their strengths and weaknesses. For this purpose, three MPAS have been chosen: Brijuni National Park, Telašćica Nature Park, and Pakleni Islands Significant Landscape. The methodology used assesses 26 specific indicators to analyse the status of 4 key factors: management body, planning subprocess, public participation, and implementation subprocess. The results of this evaluation are 5 possible scenarios: proactive (1), learning (2), interactive (3), centralized (4), and formal (5) management.
The results show that Brijuni presents a proactive scenario (1), Telašćica an interactive scenario (3), and Pakleni Islands a centralized scenario (4). The study also presents a series of measures, which can improve these scores.
The authors conclude that, in general, MPA management in Croatia tends towards a proactive model, where the management body is its greatest strength. It is also highlighted that there is a shift from a top-down to a bottom-up approach, which implies a greater involvement of the population in decision-making.
Maestro et al. (2022) Marine protected area management in the Mediterranean Sea-The case of Croatia. Diversity 14:448.