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© WWF Mediterranean

Mediterranean MPA Forum 2016

The Mediterranean MPA Forum, organised by MedPAN and RAC/SPA, together with many international and regional partners was held in Tangiers, Morocco, 28 November to 1 December. Forum participants agreed to the Tangier Declaration – a series of recommendations to improve the regional MPA network. Recommendations include the need to
  • reach at least 2% of no-take zones by 2020
  • boost MPA coverage in non-EU country waters and in the open sea
  • achieve effective management in every MPA with weak capacities and in Natura 2000 marine sites.  
During the Forum WWF presented many of the success stories we have helped to achieve across the region, including “pescatourism” in Taza National Park in Algeria, new financing approaches for Kaş-Kekova in Turkey, innovative co-management approaches for the Gyaros Natura 2000 site in Greece.

The Science of Marine Protected Areas report – Mediterranean Edition, which WWF co-authored, was released during the Forum. This global scientific synthesis on MPAs demonstrates how they provide ecological, economic, and social benefits to the Mediterranean region.

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"There is so much more potential for fully protected MPAs to benefit the people and biodiversity of the Mediterranean region. It is our hope that scientific information will help diverse groups of users, biodiversity lovers and their leaders make smart decisions to recover the bounty of the Mediterranean Sea and use it sustainably."

Prof. Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University and co-founder of the Science of Marine Reserves Project

Mediterranean MPAs: WWF’s 10-year journey

Over the last decade, there has been a transformation in marine protected areas in the Mediterranean – and WWF has been at the heart of the story. Find out more.

© WWF Mediterranean

Reducing discards in European fisheries

More than 25 years ago, Norway introduced a ban on fisheries discards to stop the decline of the Arctic cod. Stocks recovered and it is now supporting many fisheries in the country. To learn from this approach, WWF organised an exchange between fishermen (and scientists) from Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece and the Egersung Trawl company in Norway. Egersung is the largest supplier of trawling equipment to fishing fleets worldwide. Visiting fishers learned about selective devices (grids) that are used to reduce bycatch – and therefore discard – in Norwegian fisheries. This exchange was organised as WWF is working with fishermen and scientists across the Mediterranean to develop solutions and methodologies to reduce pre-harvest mortality and post-harvest discards in their Mediterranean fishing operations, while avoiding damage to sensitive marine species and habitats. This approach responds to the European Common Fisheries Policy regulation on landing obligation. Read more.
 
© Marco Costantini / WWF Mediterranean
Fishermen in the MINOUW project studied techniques to reduce discards on their visit to Egersung, Norway.
© Marco Costantini / WWF Mediterranean

A wave of sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean

This has been a landmark year for fisheries co-management in the Mediterranean. A few years ago there was just one isolated example of co-management, today we count more than ten, including co-management cases in Croatia, Algeria, Greece and Spain. Recently, WWF-Spain trained around 70 people – fishers, managers, scientists and NGOs – towards a common understanding of the key elements of small-scale fisheries management. We shared co-management theory and practice in intensive workshops, and we have worked together in the field through participatory and science-based coastal sustainability initiatives. In November we brought all trainees together in Madrid and there was unanimous agreement that things substantially improve with stakeholder cooperation towards common goals.
 
© EDF/John Rae
Spanish fishermen talk with WWF Spain staff.
© EDF/John Rae

New scientific article

Five key attributes can increase the performance of marine protected areas for small-scale fisheries management. Read more.

© WWF Mediterranean
Bluefin tuna
WWF in the Mediterranean is celebrating signs of improvement in the bluefin tuna population, close to collapse only five years ago. With the closing of the Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in November, WWF was pleased with the progress made on Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna, whose recovery plans will remain almost unchanged until next year’s full stock assessment, in line with scientific advice.
Watch this animation summarising WWF's work on bluefin tuna.
 
© WWF Mediterranean
Watch this animation summarising WWF's work on bluefin tuna
© WWF Mediterranean

New recovery plan for Mediterranean swordfish

At the recent Special Meeting, ICCAT contracting parties agreed on a recovery plan to improve the state of the Mediterranean swordfish over the next 15 years. With stocks of the iconic species having been overfished for 30 years, the move is an essential first step but much remains to be done.
“A recovery plan that specifies catch limits, including the reduction of catches by 15% in 5 years, temporal closures and other technical measures on fishing gear to reduce their impact on juveniles, is a step in the right direction. In the long term, the recovery plan should help secure the future of the swordfish fishery and the communities in the region that depend on it,” said Giuseppe Di Carlo, Director of WWF's Mediterranean Marine Initiative. Read more.

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The Mediterranean Sea has reached crisis point, with 93 per cent of assessed fish stocks over-exploited and trends still declining. Only if all stakeholders act together can we build a new future for fish stocks, transform Mediterranean fisheries, help fishermen and women craft their future, and achieve improved and sustainable seafood markets. "

Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International

© WWF Mediterranean

Stories beneath our plates

Launched around the Mediterranean, in a wave of public events in markets and restaurants, the new WWF seafood guide for Mediterranean consumers is part of a Mediterranean Marine Initiative campaign on sustainable seafood. WWF presented the guide to media, business and consumers in Portugal, Spain, Slovenia and Croatia in October, in Greece, Tunisia, Turkey and France in November and in Italy in December. The campaign continues on social media channels where we share the stories that are hidden beneath our plates. The first series of posts on Facebook and Twitter give practical tips to consumers. The next series shows the impact of our seafood consumption choices on fish and fishermen. We have engaged celebrities in our campaign, with customized posts for them to use. Celebrities in Greece, Croatia and Portugal will soon join us in our call to action for consumers to "eat seafood in a sustainable way and replenish the sea!".

 

Launch of Med Seafood Guide

Record year for turtles' number one nesting beach

It has been a record year for Sekania Beach, one of the most important nesting beaches in the Mediterranean for the endangered loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta. For more than 25 years, WWF Greece has been working tirelessly to safeguard this very important “maternity hospital” at the heart of the National Park of Zakinthos. This year we counted 658 nests (last year just 407 nests were recorded).  We have been patrolling the area constantly, and have installed two guards – the guardian angels of this emblematic species.
Read more.
The endangered loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta

© Joakim Odelberg

Future trends of Mediterranean maritime sectors

This year saw the release of WWF’s MedTrends study — run by the WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative and funded by Programme Med — the first complete and integrated picture of the growth of economic maritime activities in eight Mediterranean countries. The study provides evidence that economic growth will seriously impact Mediterranean conservation hotspots. Mediterranean maritime activities, especially tourism, shipping, aquaculture and offshore oil and gas are expected to keep growing over the next 15 years. This will result in even greater pressure on an already stressed ecosystem. Coordinated and long-term planning of the whole basin cannot wait. MedTrends produced key recommendations concerning the adoption of ecosystem-based management principles in the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive.
 
© Edward Parker / WWF
Shipping containers, Sorrento, Italy
© Edward Parker / WWF

The MedTrends report and all relevant data and maps are available on a dedicated site: medtrends.org

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"How often do you get to see a baby whale being born? I have worked as marine biologist for more than 15 years, and this was a first for me. A miracle of nature – awesome in the true sense of the word – happening in our beautiful home: the Mediterranean."

Giuseppe Di Carlo, Director, WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative