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WWF MMI bulletin: March 2015

Pantelleria, the unique island in the Sicilian Channel, is amongst the global icons threatened by fossil fuel extraction.
One less threat for whales

WWF has been working at a global scale for cetacean conservation and has promoted the creation of marine sanctuaries worldwide. WWF now urges the Spanish government to create a marine sanctuary for whales in the Canary Islands following the recent news that oil company Repsol has abandoned its exploration plans in this marine paradise where more than one third of the planet's cetaceans have been spotted. Join WWF´s petition.

It's time for whales!

© WWF Spain

Albania's first MPA has a management plan

Karaburun-Sazan MPA, Albania rel= © Mathieu Foulquie

The management plan for the first MPA in Albania, Karaburun-Sazan, developed jointly by WWF and Albanian NGO INCA, was approved in January and is now to be submitted to the  Albanian Ministry of Environment for the official adoption procedure.

Kaş-Kekova: diving into the past

Coast near Kaş on the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey. 
© Michel Gunther / WWF

With its ancient sunken cities, coral reefs and darting schools of fish, the Kaş-Kekova marine protected area in southwestern Turkey is a diver's paradise. Kaş was known as a small fishermen’s village until a few years ago. Today the area is developing into an important centre of cultural, yachting and diving tourism. WWF Turkey is working with local authorities and communities to strengthen conservation plans and underwater guidelines for the 30,000-hectare reserve. Recently a sustainable tourism plan was agreed upon for Kaş-Kekova and an MoU was signed by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and WWF Turkey.

How can we ensure that fish will be available in the future?

Scientists, fishers, NGOs and policy-makers from Europe and beyond addressed this question at a unique event in Barcelona in February. Together, they explored how greater collaboration in fisheries research can contribute to the successful long-term future of fishing in the EU, and in particular co-management. Read more.

Spain announces law to fight pirate fishing

Spain has just passed a new fisheries law, which imposes stronger penalties on Spanish citizens involved in pirate fishing anywhere in the world. The law is the translation into Spanish legislation of the EU’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing regulation, which requires all EU member States to take action against citizens and companies found to be involved in any IUU fishing activities anywhere in the world. Read more.

Fisherman casting net over gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata) fish farm, the Frioul Island, Marseille, France.

© / Frederic Larrey / WWF

interview: a truly regional initiative

Giuseppe Di Carlo is the new Leader of the Mediterranean Marine Initiative. His role is to structure a team of 20 marine staff across 7 Mediterranean countries to build a truly regional marine programme. Here his initial thoughts on the exciting journey he has just begun.

The MMI was officially launched in October 2013. What are the major results so far?
We now have a truly regional vision for the MMI that looks at the complexity of the region as a whole and understands how WWF can make a difference. The Mediterranean Sea remains one of the most threatened parts of the planet and yet one of the most beautiful. We must take action to shape a different future for our sea and we must do it through a regional approach.

And the main priorities in the months to come?
WWF is involved in a diversity of conservation actions across the Mediterranean region, working every day with communities, fishers, governments. We need to continue to work in the field with a bottom-up approach that keeps our feet wet and our organisation relevant. However, there are urgencies at the regional level that cannot be overlooked, for example the growing threat of oil drilling in marine and coastal areas. The MMI team is gearing up to tackle issues like this which can have profound and irreversible impact.
Giuseppe Di Carlo, recently appointed Leader of the Mediterranean Marine Initiative. 
© WWF Mediterranean
Giuseppe Di Carlo, recently appointed Leader of the Mediterranean Marine Initiative.
© WWF Mediterranean

Coming soon: WWF France is co-organising a workshop at the 29th European Cetacean Society Conference in Malta in March on strengthening cooperation for better cetacean conservation in the ACCOBAMS area: working together with common tools.