Skip to content

Publication of the “Status of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean” 2012

July 12, 2013

The “Status of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean” 2012 has been released and can be downloaded on

A leaflet presenting the main elements of the findings and the recommendations has also been published, along with a poster.

This study was conducted by MedPAN in collaboration with RAC/SPA in link with ACCOBAMS, the French Marine Protected Areas Agency, the Conservatoire du Littoral, the GFCM, IUICN and WWF. This report updates the first “Status of Marine Protected Areas” study conducted in 2008 by WWF, IUCN and MedPAN.

The report analyzes MPA characteristics (status, location, age and size) and level of protection (with regards to the CBD 10% and on various scales) and their representativity (of eco regions, habitats, species) and connectivity (proximity and distribution), their management (assessment of management effort), uses and pressures on MPAs and draws an inventory of the multidisciplinary monitoring programmes for Mediterranean MPAs.

This report shows that the objectives of protection and effective management of the marine environment have not yet been achieved in the Mediterranean.

  • The information on Mediterranean MPAs is now more accurate, they have been geo-located and their data recorded in the MAPAMED database: 677 MPAs have been identified, 161 of national status, 9 of international status only, 507 Natura 2000 at sea sites. 40 have one or several international statuses, including 32 Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI). There are 5 Biosphere Reserves and only 2 Marine World Heritage sites. In addition, 55 MPAs are being planned.
  • The target of 10% protection is far from being achieved. Only 1.08% of the total surface of the Mediterranean is covered by MPAs, 4.56% with the Pelagos Sanctuary for marine mammals. Since 2008, 23 MPAs have been established in 10 countries amounting to an additional area of 6 754 km² which represents close to a 7% increase of the protected surface area in 5 years compared to the 2008 protected surface area of 97 410 km2, or 4% of the Mediterranean (0.04% without Pelagos).
  • There is still a disproportionate geographical distribution in MPAs between the southern, eastern and northern shores of the Mediterranean and MPAs are still mainly on the coast
  • Representativeness of ecological sub-regions, habitats and species is very variable
  • The adequacy and viability of sites is very variable
  • The ecological coherence is better in the western basin, but still low on a Mediterranean scale
  • MPA management is still insufficient: 56% of MPAs still don’t have a management plan but 22% of mentioned that they were preparing their management plan at the time of the survey

The report also proposed recommendations to reach the management and efficient protection goal of the Mediterranean. These recommendations have been advocated for the most part in previous reports (IUCN/WWF 2008 Report but also several other reports impulsed by the RAC/SPA, ACCOBAMS, OCEANA and scientific publications…). However, most of these recommendations have not yet been implemented many years later. As such, other than the recommendations regarding the development of the network and the reinforcement of management, it is also essential to identify the levers that need to be put in place in order to respond effectively to these recurring recommendations.

  1. Reinforce the development of the MPA network in order to achieve the 10% target of the Mediterranean’s surface area
  2. Enhance the representativity and ecological coherence in areas with larger gaps, working at different levels
  3. Reinforce the effectiveness of protection, management and evaluation measures in MPAs
  4. Reinforce the resources and tools to ensure a management effectiveness evaluation
  5. Promote the development of the network’s evaluation tools on a regional level
  6. Ensure a better management of threats to MPAs
  7. Enhance the international recognition of Mediterranean MPAs

These recommendations were taken into account in the development of the towards 2020 roadmap for the network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean that was finalised during the Mediterranean MPA Forum that took place in Antalya, Turkey, in November 2012.

The next Status of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean will be released in 2016.


Publication of the “Status of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean” 2012, Network of Marine Protected Area Managers in the Mediterranean (MedPAN), July 2013. Article.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: