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© Edward Parker

WWF MMI bulletin: March 2016

Shipping containers, Sorrento, Italy
Conservation hotspots

Trends in main economic activities in the Mediterranean Sea to 2030. rel= © WWF

As the map above demonstrates, MedTrends provides evidence that economic growth will seriously impact Mediterranean conservation hotspots. The large-scale areas of intense interaction between Blue Growth and sites of conservation interest in EU Mediterranean countries shown here indicate that there is an urgent need for integrated ocean management measures which address cumulative impacts.

Except for professional fisheries, all traditional sectors of Mediterranean maritime economy such as tourism, shipping, aquaculture and offshore oil and gas are expected to keep growing during the coming 15 years (see infographic for further details).

MedTrends is the first complete and integrated picture of the growth of economic maritime activities in eight Mediterranean countries (Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Greece, Malta, Slovenia, Spain).

Extensive coverage for the launch of the MedTrends report
The launch of the MedTrends report had extensive media coverage. As well as around 150 articles/mentions by the main news agencies in France and Italy, TV in Italy and in Croatia, radio interviews in Spain and, most notably, an article in the influential world newspaper Le Monde, the project was also widely discussed in the green/ecological press and in many web magazines. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, responded immediately to the report through the media and reiterated one of the main recommendations of MedTrends — that we need to put the current economic 'boom' into a shared and sustainable common framework.
A selection of the news articles dedicated to the launch of the WWF MedTrends report.


interview: a closer look at MedTrends

Catherine Piante of WWF France, MedTrends project leader, talks about how the MedTrends analysis is a contribution to a better integrated and more effective management of Mediterranean space and resources.

Catherine Piante, MedTrends project leader © WWF
The study deals with the future trends of Mediterranean maritime sectors: which sector, in your opinion, is the one to watch most closely?
All sectors are growing rapidly, but four need to be watched carefully: tourism, maritime traffic, oil and gas and fisheries. The last two are global issues — oil and gas because it is developing so quickly, fisheries as it is key for feeding humanity.
What is a Sustainable Blue Economy?
For some, Blue Economy means the use of the sea and its resources for sustainable economic development. For others, it simply refers to any economic activity in the maritime sector, whether sustainable or not. WWF has developed a set of principles towards a shared understanding about what characterizes a sustainable Blue Economy. Basically, for the use of the sea and its resources, it is a marine-based economy that:
  • Provides social and economic benefits for current and future generations, by contributing to food security, poverty eradication, livelihoods, income, employment, health, safety, equity, and political stability
  • Restores, protects and maintains the diversity, productivity, resilience, core functions, and intrinsic value of marine ecosystems – the natural capital upon which its prosperity depends
Heavy development for tourism, La Grande Motte, France. 
© Michel Gunther / WWF
Heavy development for tourism, La Grande Motte, France.
© Michel Gunther / WWF

  • Is based on clean technologies, renewable energy, and circular material flows to secure economic and social stability over time, while keeping within the limits of one planet.

It is vital to address land-based impacts on marine ecosystems, recognizing that maritime and land-based economies are interlinked and that many of the threats facing marine environments originate on land. Active cooperation is also key, sharing information, knowledge and ideas, to reach out across borders and ensure collective stewardship of our common marine heritage.

The MedTrends project has delivered some impressive results. What do you see as the next, most important steps?
Sharing the results with decision makers so that they take them into account. Adopting a prospective vision for policy-making is a must. Just as the private sector plans for the infrastuctures needed for its development, we must learn to ancipate growing impacts on the environment. For this we need an integrated approach to all maritime sectors.