Project leader: University of Palermo – Italy

MPA: Pelagie Islands MPA

Theme: Increasing MPAs’ contribution to the territory of sandbar sharks by supporting the sustainable development of socio-economic activities, particularly tourism.

Background: The sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) is an endangered species with a decreasing population trend at Mediterranean scale. It has been frequently sighted in the shallow waters of the Pelagie Islands MPA, a protected area created in 2002 and managed by the municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa (Sicily, Italy), which initiated the development of tourism and especially “shark diving” activities. If not adequately regulated, these recreational activities can have a detrimental impact on the sandbar shark population by pushing individuals outside the MPA borders, where they are more vulnerable to other threats such as fishing.

Project objective: The objectives of this project include collecting and analysing data on shark population, assessing stakeholders’ perspectives on the socio-economic benefits of sandbar sharks, developing focused management measures (i.e. a code of conduct) involving local stakeholders and tourists, and transferring knowledge gained to MPA staff, visitors and other stakeholders to increase awareness.

Duration: 12 months

Total budget: 20,000 €
MedPAN financing: 15,000 €

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