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© B. J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF

WWF Mediterranean Initiative bulletin: Issue 1 / Dec 2013

A school of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) during their migration in the Mediterranean Sea.
Pantelleria threatened by fossil fuel extraction
A view of Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy. © Rampini/ WWF-Italy

WWF is calling on governments and companies to stop the expansion of oil drilling activities in the Sicilian Channel, especially around Pantelleria – the only island there that is not an MPA. The Mediterranean is a closed sea – any damage it sustains would affect all whose coasts lie within it. Read more.

100,000km2 added to Spain’s MPA network
Bottom trawling is very damaging to fragile
deep-sea habitats. © WWF / Erling Svensen

More than 100,000km2 of marine protected areas are to be added to Spain’s MPA network, increasing the area of Spanish seas protected from 0.4% to 8%. Four new large marine areas and 39 marine SPAs will be added to the Natura 2000 Network. In 2014 another six large offshore marine areas should be established. The choice of these areas was based on a proposal by WWF Spain. Read more.

A public voice for fishermen in North Africa
Fishermen in Tunisia. © WWF Mediterranean

Fishermen are empowered and united by the recently created platform of artisanal fishermen in North Africa. Launched in Tunisia, the platform provides both a public voice for this crucial sector of Mediterranean fisheries and a forum in which to agree on common principles for sustainable fisheries management in the Mediterranean.

Profile: marine scientist to conservation leader

Demetres Karavellas is CEO of WWF Greece and, since October, the interim Mediterranean Initiative Leader. He heads a team of 20 marine staff across 7 Mediterranean countries, and reports to the Mediterranean Shareholder Group. His thoughts on the Mediterranean Initiative and its immediate priorities:

Demetres launching the Initiative at the 3rd edition of the International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC 3) in Marseilles in October 2013, during an event dedicated to advancing marine conservation in the Mediterranean. © WWF
Can you describe the Mediterranean Inititative in 3 words?
Collaboratve, coordinated and transformative. The effort of all the WWF offices in the region and their many partners is to work together to develop real solutions on the ground, to build alliances and mobilize societies that will support a more sustainable future for this special but very threatened part of the planet.
What is the MI’s biggest priority in the coming 6 months?
The Mediterranean Initiative is building on the significant results of the marine team: reverting bluefin tuna decline, establishing MPAs, promoting the first fisheries co-management system and protecting cetaceans and sea turtles. We are now ready to scale up these results. Our first priority lies in securing the necessary resources and alliances that will allow us to achieve the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves.