Report | May 23, 2021

Marine Protected Areas and key biodiversity areas of the Alboran Sea and adjacent areas

Gorgonians in the Alboran Sea.


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are important tools for preserving species, habitats and ecological-geological-oceanographical processes. Nowadays, more than 10% of the Alboran Sea is under some protected figure or is on its way to be protected. This chapter presents the current state of the MPAs and KBAs of the Alboran Sea. Most of the habitats included in the Annex I of the Habitats Directive or the Barcelona Convention are represented in MPAs-KBAs of the Alboran Sea. More than 290 threatened species are also occurring in these MPAs-KBAs, but some of them have experienced a strong decline even within them (e.g. Zostera marina, Pinna nobilis). Although important progress in the protection of the Alboran Sea has been made in the last decades, there is still much to be done for effective conservation of the habitats and species. The main efforts may focus on improving (1) knowledge of the habitats and species; (2) the surveillance and mitigation against current impacts; (3) the coordination between local, national and international agencies; and (4) the measures for improving habitats and threatened species populations, among others. A deep change in the socio-economic model is then needed for preserving the Alboran Sea natural heritage, promoting then a sustainable use of its resources.

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