Oceana

Season 2012 Episode 02.17.12

Proposal of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean Sea

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The Mediterranean is one of the main hot spots of biodiversity on the planet. But the delay in declaring Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has led to the accelerated loss of biodiversity, one that is likely irreversible in some cases. Only 1% of the world’s oceans are protected, compared to 11% on land. The reason used to justify it is a lack of scientific information. However, the geological and oceanographic characteristics that generate high levels of biodiversity are known, so there is no longer any excuse. Oceana MedNet is an example of a network of Marine Protected Areas with a precautionary approach when there is a general lack of biological knowledge. Oceana MedNet proposes the creation of 100 MPAs. It covers 207,100 km2 (8.2% of the Mediterranean). The smallest MPA is the Morrot de Sa Dragonera (200 km2) Oceana MedNet includes the high seas, practically never protected before, and a wide range of habitats –seamounts, mud volcanoes, banks, trenches, canyons, large oceanic gyres... More than 80% of the Mediterranean would be connected. The average minimum distance between MPAs is 95 km. The largest and most effective areas are in the Eastern basin, the least protected zone. The largest MPA proposed is the Mersa-Matruth Eddy (15,200 km2) At least 10% of marine eco-regions must be protected before 2020 according to the United Nations Convention on Biological Biodiversity. Oceana MedNet contributes more than 8% to that target in the Mediterranean.moreless

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