Title: Creating Bridges of Collaborations over the Adriatic Sea, while Adapting the Successful Experiences from Torre Guaceto MPA in Karaburun-Sazan MPA for Sustainable Fisheries Development
MPAs: Karaburun-Sazan (Albania); Torre Guaceto (Italy)
Partners: Flag Pine; Consorzio di Gestione di Torre Guaceto; Area Marina Protetta e Riserva Naturale dello Stato; Regional Administrate of Protected Areas in Vlore (official MPA management authority)
Thematic: Sustainable management of marine turtles and fisheries in MPAs
Period of implementation (year): 2018-2019
Duration: 12 months
Total budget: 27 500 €
MedPAN financing: 20 500 €
The Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park, created in 2010, is the first MPA established in Albania. The Regional Administration of Protected Areas (RAPA) Vlore is the governmental authority in charge of its management. One of the goals of the MPA is to support local community development by promoting viable fishing and sustainable tourism practices that ensure wise use of natural resources. Sport and traditional fishing is only allowed in certain areas within the MPA, and only fishers holding a special permit issued by the park management authorities are allowed to access it.
A grant agreement between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Albania and the WWF Mediterranean Program in 2014 lead to the preparation of a Management Plan for the National Park of Marine Natural Ecosystem of the Karaburuni Peninsula and Sazani Island. The management plan was approved by the Albanian Ministry of Environment in November 2015.
In 2015, a first Small Project entitled “Developing Co-management Approaches for Sustainable Fisheries in the Karaburun-Sazan Marine Protected Area” was implemented by the Royal Albania Foundation1. Since then, managers of Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park are developing their collaboration with fishers and working towards strengthening fishers’ involvement in management. The project promoted the preservation of fish species in the MPA and resulted in the publication of the “Best Practice Manual about Sustainable Fisheries in Albanian Marine Protected Area”.
1Funded by the French Global Environment Facility, the MAVA Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in the framework of MedPAN 2015 regular Call for Small Projects.
MedPAN’s Small Project
Inspired by the involvement of fishers in the management of the Italian MPA of Torre-Guaceto, located on the opposite side of the Adriatic Sea, this small project was designed to promote the engagement of fishers in the management of Karaburun-Sazan MPA. The success of Torre-Guaceto MPA lies in the fact that a compromise was found between fishers and the local authorities concerning fishing in the MPA. As a result, regulated fishery has been established in certain areas of the MPA and is being co-managed by fishers and local authorities. Fishers are key players in the definition of management measures in Torre-Guaceto MPA and the effects on the resource are visible.
Therefore, the overall goal of this project was to integrate the experience of fishers with the knowledge of MPA managers for improving small-scale fisheries management in Karaburun-Sazan, following guidance from researchers, fishers and MPA managers from Torre Guaceto MPA.
This Small Project allowed the organisation of several meetings between fishers, managers and scientists of the two MPAs, allowing knowledge and experience sharing at national and international levels. The project promoted the adaptation and implementation of monitoring techniques from Torre Guaceto in Karaburun-Sazan, by training fishers on monitoring methodologies and strengthening their collaboration with RAPA Vlore.
Exchange of experience on co-management
Exchange of experience was promoted with the organization of a collaborative training and experience-sharing workshop in Torre Guaceto, Italy. Firstly, MPA managers and fishers from Karaburun-Sazan were taught by MPA managers, fishers and scientists from Torre Guaceto about the sampling, monitoring and decision support tools used in their MPA. The training covered sustainable fishing practices, MPA benefits for marine life and the role of fishers in MPAs. Then, representatives from the two MPAs presented the administration, organisation and activities in place in their MPA. Concrete examples from Torre Guaceto demonstrated that the interests of both fishers and conservationists can be combined to protect marine life and ecosystem services.
The exchange of experience continued in Albania, as Albanian MPA managers were given a presentation about the strategy followed by the Torre Guaceto MPA managers and fishers for assessing the ecological and economic effects of small scale fisheries inside and outside the borders of the MPA. This allowed Albanian MPA managers and fishers to learn more about the surveillance systems in place in other MPAs, and resulted in the booklet “Guideline for small-scale Fishers and MPA managers” and study report “Best Practices in fisheries management from Torre Guaceto and recommendations for Karaburun-Sazan”.
Development of a monitoring system for local fisheries
The system for monitoring small scale fisheries in Karaburun-Sazan was revisited based on the experience shared by Torre Guaceto MPA managers and fishers. Using a monitoring protocol implemented in Torre Guaceto in the framework of the Interreg Med project FishMPABlue2
(20172), unprecedented field data was collected in Karaburun-Sazan.
The Italian methodology for field data collection was compared and adapted to the Albanian context, and a study report with recommendations was produced: “Sampling methodology for assessing the socio-economic effect of Karaburun-Sazan MPA to the small scale fisheries nearby the MPA”.
- Baited Underwater Visual (BUV) surveys to estimate the abundance of fish species inside and outside the MPA, to gather ecological information;
- For small-scale commercial vessels inside and outside Karaburun-Sazan MPA, data collection on species composition, size structure of target species, catch per unit effort and fishing areas per fishing gear, based on the methodology used in Torre Guaceto (photo sampling of fisheries landings).
2Description of sampling methodologies for monitoring small scale fisheries in Mediterranean MPAs: ecological, economic and social dimension. Antonio Di Franco, Antonio Calò, Paolo Guidetti, Patrice Francour (University Nice Sophia Antipolis, Ecomers Laboratory); Marco Milazzo, Gabriele Turco, Carlo Cattano, Davide Spatafora (CoNISMa, ULR University of Palermo).
The exchange visits allowed to share best practices and promote collaboration among Mediterranean MPAs. MPA managers and fishers from Karaburun-Sazan appreciated receiving suggestions to improve and strengthen fisheries management in their MPA. It is essential to have clearly defined objectives for the exchange visit to monitor its impact and efficiency.
The project demonstrated that it is crucial to involve fishers in monitoring activities and possibly other related stakeholders for activities implemented by RAPA Vlore for several reasons: establish a collaboration with the stakeholders in the region (e.g. the Fisheries Inspectorate of Vlora, the Coastal Guard authority), gain their support and participation, and consider and use their ecological knowledge.
The application of new sampling techniques in Karaburun-Sazan was considered a success as it was accepted by the fishers and the MPA administrate. RAPA Vlore staff members hope to continue implementing the monitoring protocol together with the local fishers.
As a result of the project, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture Services (at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), RAPA Vlore and ACEPSD.
Albanian stakeholders would also like to implement something they have learned from Torre Guaceto: each year, based on the fisheries monitoring data, fishers and MPA managers are taking a decision on how to improve the management of fisheries activities for having the right balance between catching target fish species and conserving the relative fishery resources.
Sampling with BUV methodology requires at least 6 months for being able to assess the variability related to fishing techniques, areas and seasons. Funding was obtained to continue the work with a new project, “Bridges of Collaborations over the Adriatic Sea – bringing the Successful Experiences from Torre Guaceto MPA in Karaburun-Sazani MPA for Sustainable Fisheries Development”, which started in July 2019 for a period of 11 months. The extension project will also include an analysis of the socio-economic benefits of monitoring activities in Albania.