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© A. Triantopoulou

WWF Mediterranean Initiative bulletin: Issue 4 / March 2014

Gyaros, in the Aegean Sea, Greece
Largest MPA/Tourism project in the WWF network

Since 2008 WWF has helped to establish MPAs in Algeria, Croatia, Libya, Tunisia and Turkey. The SEA-Med project builds on this success, and brings together WWF Mediterranean, MedPAN and the Conservatoire du Littoral, working with the governments and authorities in 8 MPAs towards their financial and operational self-sufficiency. Addressing fisheries and tourism management, through a stakeholder participatory approach, SEA-Med demonstrates the value of MPAs for marine resource management and livelihood generation and contributes to the creation of exemplary models of Integrated Coastal Management.

The 7 MPAs in the SEA-Med project.

© WWF Mediterranean

WWF Spain campaigns to save Canary Islands

The Spanish Government has granted permission to drill an undetermined number of exploratory wells in ultra-deep waters off the eastern coast of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, both islands declared Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO. The area is also among the most important global sites for cetaceans and many other endangered species. This decision has been taken unilaterally by the central government despite strong opposition from institutions and civil society of the Canaries, firmly committed to sustainable development and the use of renewable energy. They have joined in a common front to fight against oil drilling plans. All support is crucial to avoid this huge environmental threat. Please sign and share this petition.

Canary Islands: marine paradise threatened by oil industry

© Carlos Suàrez /

Connected MPA
Miramare MPA, Italy © WWF Mediterranean

An MPA should be a place for the spillover of good ideas. Terre@mare is an innovative project in which WWF Italy uses the Web and online tools to monitor and map the Miramare MPA in the gulf of Trieste. The resources are then made available to tourists, sea watchers and divers whose online visits and contributions make them participants in the project. Read more.

Fishermen make MPA a success

For several years the Marine Reserve of Torre Guaceto, in Carovigno, Italy, has featured a co-management approach between the MPA authority and local fishermen. Roughly one-tenth of the 22-km2 site is no-take, while the remainder allows fishing with certain gears at certain times. This approach has allowed high revenues for the fishermen who work there while meeting conservation targets for the MPA. Most importantly the fishermen have taken ownership of this achievement and their entire community has benefited from the experience.
Read more.

Interview: about stakeholder engagement

Nilay Akca is a conservation officer at WWF-Turkey. After studying marine biology she worked as a researcher in protected areas in Turkey. Since 2011 she has been with WWF-Turkey, working in particular on the MedPAN South project.

Nilay Akca in action © WWF
What are the three most important things you have learnt in your work on engaging stakeholders in MPAs in Turkey?
First, that time is necessary for change to occur. At the beginning of the MedPAN South Project, there was a lack of knowledge about MPAs and the planning process. It took longer than we expected to identify and involve people. Most local stakeholders focused on immediate social and economic benefits. So, the second thing is that building trust is a must for long term success. We simplified every scientific outcome and explained in detail to gain their trust for regulations. We encouraged every stakeholder to express their thoughts openly and to create common grounds in our meetings. Third lesson - stakeholder engagement is the real power. If you have a really strong relationship with key local stakeholders, that brings power at the national level.
What are the greatest challenges you have faced?
Our biggest challenges have been political ones. There was a government turnover in 2011, in the middle of the project, which broke up the local management unit primarily responsible for the implementation of the management plan and delayed the approval process. But we managed to get back on track and are now following the approval of the management plan officially.


Since 2003, WWF-France has been instrumental in establishing the MedPAN Network of MPA managers in the Mediterranean, a network involving MPA managers and authorities from 21 countries in the region. MedPAN is now:

  • the most active MPA social network at the scale of a regional sea in the world.
  • a well-known actor with the EU, the Barcelona Convention, the CBD, which has helped to raise the profile of Mediterranean MPAs with EU and Mediterranean decision makers.
  • a focal point - in 2012, MedPAN, with WWF, organized the Mediterranean MPA Forum, where all major institutions of the Mediterranean gathered and adopted a common roadmap to achieve the Aïchi targets.