en.econostrum

           

What do marine protected areas offer their associated communities?


In line with an initiative launched by the Global Environment Facility, within the framework of the Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem, a study undertaken by the Blue Plan for the Mediterranean, and supported by the French Global Environment Facility, has defined the criteria for assessing marine protected areas. It is a question of determining their contribution to the communities concerned.



Southwest of Antalya, the Lycian coast is protected in Turkey. Its marine biodiversity benefits the fishermen (Photo MN)
Southwest of Antalya, the Lycian coast is protected in Turkey. Its marine biodiversity benefits the fishermen (Photo MN)
Protected areas cover 12.2% of the earth’s land area. 120,000 can be identified on a specialised planisphere.  Likewise, 5.9% of territorial waters are covered by protected areas but only 0.5% of the high seas. In fact, closer to home, 4% of the Mediterranean Sea is protected. Essentially, this is the Pelagos reserve, created as a result of a treaty between France, Italy (the driving force behind the initiative), and the Principality of Monaco, with the aim of protecting cetaceans. 
  
However, the continental shelf, and its maximum depth of 200m, is the area the most exposed to environmental degradation. On the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in some cases up to 70% of the coastline has been denaturalised; on the southern shores, the phenomenon is less pronounced but the trend is very much evident, coastal urbanisation is gathering pace. 
  
Faced with compelling economic interests for the building and public works, tourism, construction and maritime transport sectors, how can the benefits offered by these Mediterranean marine ecosystems to their associated territories be assessed? 
  
“Projects do exist and help make these assessments, however they concern the terrestrial environment, forests in particular” underlines Anaï Mangos, coordinator of the Blue Plan  study. “Indeed, very few projects focus on the marine environment”. Six economists are therefore responsible for blazing a trail in several countries of the Mediterranean basin. 
  
Currently they are assessing several sites. In Algeria, the Mount Chenoua and Kuouali Cove protection project concerns an area of high biodiversity that is experiencing a growth in visitor numbers during the summer months. On the Spanish Catalan coast, the Cap de Creus Natural Park protects 30km of coastline around a vertiginous rock at the heart of the Costa Brava. The studies also focus on the benefits of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos in Greece, the protected area of the Kuriat Islands in Tunisia, and the specially protected area of Kas-Kekova in Turkey.

The sustainable development message is long term in nature

Maritime transport generates significant turnover in the region, however what about the economic benefits in the very long term of a significant but endangered biodiversity? (photo XDR)
Maritime transport generates significant turnover in the region, however what about the economic benefits in the very long term of a significant but endangered biodiversity? (photo XDR)
The study focusing on the Pelagos Sanctuary is a special case, due to the distinctive characteristics of this vast marine protected area covering the Var-Corsica-Genoa triangle, an area managed by three government authorities with a highly urbanised coastline and where the characteristic maritime activities have little to do with the quality of the environment. Indeed, “while the fishing industry and a number of the area’s tourism activities depend on the environmental services provided, maritime transport, which is very intense in this area, inflicts environmental disturbance and poses significant risk of collision with cetaceans and of pollution by hydrocarbons” explains Anaï Mangos. In view of this, the approach adopted for the assessment has focused on the institutional development of the Pelagos Sanctuary  and how it affects the behaviour of users of the coastal and marine area. The forthcoming publication is entitled “Analyse de la protection du milieu marin méditerranéen : cas du sanctuaire Pélagos (Protection of the mediterranean marine environment : a study of the Pelagos sanctuary). 

She continues, “The sustainable development message is long term in nature, however one must be able to support it, and to speak from a forward-looking perspective, of future values. In order to hear this, decision-makers of course need sound criteria and reliable figures. We are trying to build these and to contribute reliable data to the discussion”. 

version française


Michel Neumuller avec le Plan Bleu


Friday, November 2nd 2012



Article read 321 times


Articles which should interest to you
< >