So far only 7% of the Mediterranean has been protected and deep-sea ecosystems have almost no protection.
Tangier, Morocco - An area the size of the Republic of Ireland (71,840 km2) still needs to be protected in the Mediterranean, Oceana warns, if countries are to fulfil their international obligation to protect 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The alert follows data released at the 2016 Forum of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean, which urged Mediterranean countries to speed up the designation of marine protected areas (MPAs).ç
“The Mediterranean Sea suffers a barrage of attacks on its habitats and an alarming rate of over-exploitation of its fishery resources. The scientific data for a better and healthier Mediterranean are already there, but what is missing is the recipe’s main ingredient: political will”, said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe.
The 7.1% of MPA coverage announced at this year’s Forum is an increase on the 4.6% figure from 2012. The remaining 2.9% lacking protection must be protected by 2020 as agreed under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The current rate at which MPAs are being designated is too slow to curb the irrevocable loss of threatened and sensitive habitats, while deep-sea ecosystems are almost entirely lacking safety from fishing impacts.
The current network of MPAs is also too weak in the level of protection it affords. Only 0.04% of MPAs are under strictly protected “no-take" zones, where all kinds of fishing and human activity are prohibited. Stakeholders at the Forum agreed on a target of just 2%, which is still far from being sufficient to help threatened habitats and to recover key fish stocks in the Mediterranean.
To ensure Mediterranean countries meet their international environmental obligations by 2020, Oceana proposes:
More information: Oceana MedNet